In 2001, Johan Tarčulovski was a police officer acting as an Escort Inspector in the President’s Security Unit in the Ministry of the Interior of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. His duties included providing personal security for the President. The indictment alleges that Johan Tarčulovski ordered planned and organised the crimes during the attack on the Albanian village of Ljuboten on 12 August 2001 and personally took part in the attack himself.
Tarčulovski was indicted with Ljube Boškoski. Tarčulovski was charged with three counts of murder, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, and cruel treatment as violations of the laws or customs of war. According to the indictment, Tarčulovski, or members of the police unit which he lead, participated in the murder of seven Albanian men, the destruction of at least 14 Albanian houses, and the beating, humiliation, harassment and psychological abuse of over 100 villagers in Ljuboten. Tarčulovski pleaded not guilty to all the charges. The trial commenced on 16 April 2007 and closing arguments took place on 6 and 8 May 2008.
On 10 July 2008, Trial Chamber II found Tarčulovski guilty of ordering, planning and instigating murder, wanton destruction and cruel treatment, all violations of the laws or customs of war under Article 3 of the Statute. He was sentenced to a single sentence of imprisonment of 12 years.
On 8 August 2008, Defence Counsel filed a Notice of Appeal against the decision of 10 July 2008. Johan Tarčulovski appealed his conviction and sentence, presenting seven grounds of appeal. The appeal hearing took place on 29 October 2009.
On 19 May 2010 the Appeals Chamber upheld the factual findings of the Trial Chamber, dismissing the grounds of appeal in their entirety. The Appeals Chamber held that the situation in FYROM had reached the requisite level of intensity to be regarded as a non-international armed conflict, rejecting the argument that it was a civil disturbance.
For these reasons the Appeals Chamber upheld the original sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment; and orders that Johan Tarčulovski is to remain in the custody of the Tribunal pending the finalisation of arrangements for his transfer to the State in which his sentence will be served.