ICTY Appeals Chamber sentences Krajišnik to 20 years 17 Mar 2009
The ICTY Appeals Chamber has reduced Momčilo Krajišnik's sentence to 20 years.

Momcilo KrajišnikOn 17 March 2009 the Appeals Chamber at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) upheld Momčilo Krajišnik’s conviction on grounds of persecution, deportation, and forcible transfer and sentenced him to 20 years’ imprisonment. The Appeals Chamber granted in part the appeals of Amicus Curiae and Momčilo Krajišnik whereas the Prosecution’s appeal against the original 27-year sentence was dismissed in its entirety.

On 27 September 2006, the ICTY Trial Chamber found Momčilo Krajišnik guilty of persecution, extermination, murder, deportation and forced transfer of non-Serb civilians as crimes against humanity, and sentenced him to 27 years’ imprisonment. Krajišnik was found not guilty of charges of genocide and complicity to genocide.

The Trial Chamber had found that Momčilo Krajišnik had participated in a joint criminal enterprise (“JCE”) along with Slobodan Milošević, Radovan Karadžic, Ratko Mladić and other members of the Bosnian Serb leadership. The objective of the JCE was to ethnically recompose territories targeted by the Bosnian Serb leadership by drastically reducing the proportion of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats through expulsion. Krajišnik’s principle contribution to the JCE was to help establish and perpetuate the party and state structures that were instrumental to the commission of the crimes perpetrated in 1991-1992.

Expanded crimes to the JCE

The Appeals Chamber found that the Trial Chamber failed to identify when the expanded crimes of murder, extermination and persecution became part of the common goal of the JCE. It thereby quashed Krajišnik’s convictions in relation to the expanded crimes, which were not included in the original objective of the JCE. The Appeal Chamber held that “Neither the Appeals Chamber nor an accused can be required to engage in speculation on the meaning of the Trial Chamber’s findings – or the lack thereof – in relation to such a central element of Krajišnik’s individual criminal responsibility as the scope of the common objective of the JCE.”

Hence, the Appeals Chamber quashed the Trial Chamber’s earlier convictions of murder, extermination, and persecution based on crimes other than deportation and forcible transfer, but upheld the Trial Chamber’s findings of guilt in relation to deportations, forcible transfer and persecution of non-Serb civilians.

Dismissed grounds of appeal

The Appeals Chamber dismissed the first ground of appeal made by the Accused and Amicus Curiae that the Trial Chamber had violated Momčilo Krajišnik’s right to a fair trial. The Amicus Curiae had argued that Momčilo Krajišnik was ineffectively assisted by Counsel at trial, however the Appeals Chamber held that these defects did not amount to a miscarriage of justice that would undermine the fairness of the trial.

The Appeals Chamber dismissed the Prosecution’s only ground of appeal, in which it had argued that the Trial Chamber’s sentence of 27 years’ imprisonment did not reflect the severity of the crimes. The Appeals Chamber held that the Prosecution had not shown that the Trial Chamber had made a legal error in determining the length of the sentence. Although a number of the convictions were overturned by the Appeals Chamber, it held that the gravity of the crimes of persecution, deportation and forcible transfer still “requires a severe and proportionate sentence” and imposed a sentence of 20 years.

Momčilo Krajišnik

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Court documents / Documents juridiques

Summary of Judgement
Résumé du jugement
17 March 2009

Trial Judgement
27 September 2007

Related news items / Informations complémentaires

Krajišnik convicted of crimes against humanity

Krajišnik reconnu coupable de crimes contre l’humanité
27 September 2006

Radio Netherlands Worldwide

ICTY: Momcilo Krajisnik sentenced to 20 years
17 March 2009