Appeals Chamber Reverses Šešelj’s Acquittal, in part, and Convicts him of Crimes Against Humanity

Appeals Chamber
The Hague
Appeals Chamber
Appeals Chamber

The Appeals Chamber of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, composed of Judge Theodor Meron, presiding, Judge Lee G. Muthoga, Judge Florence Rita Arrey, Judge Ben Emmerson, and Judge Ivo Nelson de Caires Batista Rosa delivered today its judgement on the appeal lodged by the Prosecution against the acquittal of Mr. Vojislav Šešelj.

The Appeals Chamber reversed Mr. Šešelj’s acquittal, in part, and dismissed the remainder of the Prosecution’s appeal. The Appeals Chamber entered convictions against Mr. Šešelj under Counts 1, 10, and 11 of the Indictment for instigating deportation, persecution (forcible displacement), and other inhumane acts (forcible transfer) as crimes against humanity, as well as for committing persecution, based on a violation of the right to security, as a crime against humanity. In particular, the Appeals Chamber found that the Trial Chamber erred in not holding Mr. Šešelj responsible for a speech he gave in Hrtkovci, Vojvodina (Serbia) on 6 May 1992 calling for the expulsion of the non-Serbian population.

The Appeals Chamber also reversed the Trial Chamber’s finding that there was no widespread or systematic attack against the non-Serbian civilian population in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Appeals Chamber concluded that there was ample evidence on the record to support this finding. The remainder of the Prosecution appeal was dismissed.

The Appeals Chamber sentenced Mr. Šešelj to 10 years of imprisonment. The sentence was declared served in view of the credit to which Mr. Šešelj was entitled under the Rules of Procedure and Evidence for the time he spent in detention pending trial from 24 February 2003 to 6 November 2014.

On 31 March 2016, Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia acquitted Mr. Šešelj of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war. At trial, the Prosecution alleged that Mr. Šešelj planned, ordered, instigated, committed, including through a joint criminal enterprise, or otherwise aided and abetted these crimes.

Mr. Šešelj was appointed President of the Serbian Radical Party in February 1991, and in June 1991, he was elected as a member of the Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.

This is the second judgement issued by the Mechanism. Appeal proceedings in relation to Mr. Radovan Karadžić and Mr. Ratko Mladić and review proceedings in relation to Mr. Augustin Ngirabatware are pending before the Appeals Chamber. The retrial of Mr. Jovica Stanišić and Mr. Franko Simatović is ongoing before a trial chamber of the Mechanism. In addition, the Mechanism continues to discharge its residual judicial functions in a wide-ranging number of cases.