ICTY Trial Chamber Churns up an Acquittal; Prosecution Appeals; Will There be Acquittals at ECCC
The Prosecution appeal against former Bosnian Army Deputy Commander, Sefer Halilović, has been dismissed by the ICTY Appeals Chamber.
On Tuesday, 16 October, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) affirmed the acquittal of Sefer Halilović, the former Deputy Commander of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ABiH). In November 2005, the Trial Chamber had found Halilović not guilty of all charges regarding his alleged command responsibility for murders committed by members of the ABiH in Herzegovina in September 1993.
The Prosecution had appealed the Trial Chamber’s judgement, seeking reversal of Halilović’s acquittal with respect to the killings perpetrated in the village of Grabovica, 30 kilometres north of Mostar. According to the Prosecution, Sefer Halilović was the commander of the military operation called Neretva-93 and had effective control over the troops which committed the crimes in Grabovica. Neither party disputed that the killings of the thirteen persons of Croatian descent had actually occurred. The appeal hearings were held on 10 and 11 July 2007.
The Appeals Chamber dismissed the Prosecution’s appeal, stating that it had failed to show that Halilović had the required degree of “effective control” over the perpetrators to establish his superior responsibility under Article 7(3) of the Statute. Having dismissed the first of the Prosecution’s four grounds of appeal, determining that it had not shown that a superior-subordinate relationship between Halilović and the offending troops had been established, the Appeals Chamber declared that the Prosecution’s remaining grounds of appeal became moot and required no further appraisal.