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ICTY upholds acquittal of Macedonia ex-interior minister

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Wednesday affirmed the acquittal [judgment, PDF] of former Macedonian interior minister Ljube Boskoski [case materials], while upholding the sentence imposed against Macedonian police officer Johan Tarculovski for alleged war crimes. In 2008, Boskoski was found not guilty [JURIST report] of neglecting his responsibility as a superior to punish subordinates who committed crimes during and after a 2001 police raid against ethnic Albanians in the the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Tarculovski, a former police officer in FYROM, was convicted of war crimes for having ordered, planned, and instigated crimes committed against ethnic Albanians during the raid. The Appeals Chamber held that the Trial Chamber was correct in its findings of fact and law against Tarculovski, proving beyond a reasonable doubt that his police force knew or should have known that the victims were taking not active part in the hostilities and that the prominent objective of the raid was to indiscriminately attack ethnic Albanians and their property. Tarculovski will remain in the Tribunal's Detention Unit pending finalization of arrangements for his transfer to the country where he will serve the rest of his 12-year sentence.

Boskoski and Tarculovski are the only Macedonians to be indicted by the ICTY. The two men jointly went on trial [JURIST report] in 2007 after being charged [amended indictment, PDF; case backgrounder, PDF] with murdering seven ethnic Albanian civilians in the village of Ljuboten [HRW backgrounder] during a 2001 conflict between local ethnic Albanian guerrillas and Macedonian government security forces. Tarculovski was accused of directing the attack on the village and Boskovski was accused of having command and control over the armed forces at the time of the alleged massacre. The two men surrendered [JURIST report] to the ICTY in 2005 after being charged with war crimes. Boskovski has also been in prison for charges relating to the murder of seven immigrants while he was the interior minister in 2002.

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