Brđanin sentence reduced to 30 years 03 Apr 2007
The Appeals Chamber of the ICTY has reduced the sentence of Radoslav Brđanin from 32 to 30 years' imprisonment.

On 3 April 2007, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) reduced the sentence of Radoslav Brđanin by two years, to 30 years’ imprisonment. Brđanin was the political leader of the Autonomous Region of Krajina (ARK) until September1992. On 1 September 2004, the Trial Chamber found Brđanin guilty of four counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and two counts of violations of the laws or customs of war, committed during 1992 against non-Serbs in the ARK in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was sentenced to 32 years’ imprisonment. Both the Prosecution and Brđanin appealed the Trial Chamber’s judgement.

In his appeal, Brđanin raised over 150 alleged errors. The Appeals Chamber summarily disposed of dozens of alleged errors while the remaining ones were dealt with in substance.  Two grounds of appeal were allowed by the Appeals Chamber. The first related to the Trial Chamber’s inference that Brđanin’s failure to intervene or prevent torture in camps and detention facilities, together with his public attitude towards these facilities, had the effect of encouraging torture. The Appeals Chamber allowed these appeals because there was no evidence that the personnel in question were aware of Brđanin’s public attitude. The Appeals Chamber also, proprio motu, reversed his conviction for “wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity” relating to the municipality of Bosanska Krupa. The Appeals Chamber, however, rejected Brđanin’s argument that the Trial Chamber erred in law in finding “severe pain or suffering” as the level required for a finding of torture. It affirmed that “severe pain or suffering” is the appropriate level required under customary international law for a finding of torture.

In addition, two grounds of appeal submitted by the Prosecution were granted. They involved questions of law relating to the doctrine of joint criminal enterprise (JCE). The Appeals Chamber found that a member of a JCE can be held responsible for crimes committed by non-members of the enterprise. The Chamber stated that it is not necessary that an accused has concluded a specific agreement with the principal perpetrator to commit a particular crime as long as the accused acted in accordance with the common plan necessarily shared by all JCE members. Additionally, the Appeals Chamber found that the doctrine of JCE not only applies to relatively small-scale cases; scales much larger than a municipality are also possible. Due to an understanding inter partes, the Appeals Chamber did not enter new convictions under the JCE doctrine.

The limitation of the sentence reduction to two years was ultimately due to weighing the gravity of the crimes for which the convictions were overturned and those for which the convictions were upheld. In this regard the Appeals Chamber also took into account the relevant aggravating and mitigating circumstances of the case.

Press release 

Page Tools
Share |