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Unjust’ Acquittal of Yugoslav General Perisic Challenged

3. February 2014.00:00
The Hague Tribunal prosecution has asked for the acquittal of former Yugoslav Army general Momcilo Perisic over war crimes in Sarajevo and Srebrenica to be reconsidered by the court.

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“The reconsideration of the verdict is needed in order to correct the injustice made to tens of thousands of men, women and children, who were killed or wounded in Sarajevo and Srebrenica, and their families due to the application of a wrong legal principle for aiding and abetting commission of crimes in the case against Perisic,” the Hague prosecution said in its motion to the international court on Monday.

Perisic was initially found guilty in 2011 of aiding and abetting a military campaign which killed thousands of civilians in Sarajevo, failing to punish subordinates for shelling Zagreb, and aiding and abetting crimes against Bosniaks in Srebrenica.

He was sentenced to 27 years in prison, but the verdict was quashed and he was cleared of the charges a year ago.

The prosecution said that this should now be reconsidered because the Hague’s appeals chamber, during the recent trial of four senior Yugoslav state and military officials including ex-deputy prime minister Nikola Sainovic, said that legal principles were wrongly applied in the acquittal of Perisic because the Tribunal had asked for evidence, for the first time, that the general specifically assisted in the commission of the crimes.

Explaining the acquittal of Perisic last year, Theodor Meron, the appeals chamber’s chairman, said that the prosecution had not proved that Perisic provided “concretely targeted assistance” to members of the Bosnian Serb Army who committed crimes in Srebrenica and Sarajevo.

The prosecution believes that the international court’s appeals chamber has the right to reconsider its own decisions “in rare and exceptional cases”.

“The reconsideration is needed, because, in the case against Sainovic the appellate chamber said that a wrong legal principle was applied only 11 months after the verdict against Perisic,” the motion signed by chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz said.

“Justice must be provided to victims. The reconsideration of the ruling is the only way to enable that,” it added.

Denis Džidić

This post is also available in: Bosnian