UN Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] Serge Brammertz [official profile] announced on Wednesday that he will appeal [press release] the recent acquittal of Serbian politician Vojislav Šešelj. The ICTY acquitted [JURIST report] Šešelj, president of the Serbian Radical Party and former Assembly member of Serbia, of all crimes against humanity and war crimes in connection with the Balkan war on March 31. Brammertz believes that the Hague-based court failed to perform its judicial function by failing to properly apply the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard. He further stated that the majority erred in determining that the criminal conduct was a lawful contribution to the war effort. Brammertz claims that the evidence provided to the court was overwhelming and the vast number of crimes was overlooked.
The ICTY [JURIST backgrounder] and the Balkan States continue to prosecute those accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity that left more than 100,000 people dead and millions displaced during the Balkan conflict of the 1990s. In May 2015 the ICTY ordered [JURIST report] Serbia’s justice ministry to return Šešelj to his detention cell immediately after he was released in February [JURIST op-ed] to return to Serbia for cancer treatment. The ICTY had revoked his provisional release [JURIST report] in March because Šešelj spoke at a news conference in Belgrade and stated [WSJ report] that he would not return voluntarily to the Hague.