UN appeals court reverses acquittal and convicts Šešelj of war crimes

UN appeals court reverses acquittal and convicts Šešelj of war crimes

The United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) [official website] Appeals Chamber on Wednesday reversed [judgment summary] the acquittal [JURIST report] of Vojislav Šešelj by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [website] and convicted him for crimes against humanity.

The Appeals Chamber found that the ICTY Trial Chamber erred in not finding Šešelj accountable for a 1992 speech endorsing the deportation of non-Serbian peoples from the country. The Appeals Chamber also recognized that Šešelj was involved in criminal actions against non-Serbian people in Croatia and Bosnia &Herzegovina in an attempt to create a new Serbian-dominated state.

The Appeals Chamber reversed the acquittal of the ICTY and convicted Šešelj, under Article 1 of the Mechanism’s Statute and Articles 5(d), 5 (h), 5 (i) and 7(1) of the ICTY Statute [text, pdf], of “instigating the crimes of persecution, deportation, and other inhumane acts (forcible transfer), as crimes against humanity…[and] committing persecution, based on a violation of the right to security, as a crime against humanity.”

Šešelj was sentenced to 10 years in prison, however the sentence is considered to have been served due to Šešelj’s pre-trial detention from 2003-2014 under Rule 125(C) of the MICT Rules of Procedure and Evidence [text].