Veselin Sljivancanin’s defense has filed a motion for the reconsideration of the appellate judgment sentencing the former security chief in the JNA Guards Brigade to 17 years. When the Appeals Chamber convicted Sljivancanin of aiding and abetting murder, his defense contends, it in effect made a new first-instance verdict and the accused has the right to appeal

Veselin Šljivančanin u sudnici TribunalaVeselin Šljivančanin u sudnici Tribunala

Defense lawyers Novak Lukic and Stephan Bourgon filed a motion for the reconsideration of the Appeals Chamber’s judgment sentencing Sljivancanin, former security chief in the JNA Guards Brigade to 17 years for aiding and abetting murder of about 200 prisoners on the Ovcara farm on 20 November 1991. In the motion made public today to the press, the defense sought leave to file an appeal before another chamber or to have a new trial.

The Appeals Chamber quashed the judgment of the Trial Chamber, which sentenced Sljivancanin to five years in prison for aiding and abetting torture; Sljivancanin was acquitted on charges of aiding and abetting murder.

At the press conference today the defense lawyers noted that ‘Sljivancanin is a victim of the Appeal Chamber’s judgment’; ‘such injustice cannot stand’, they said, and called for the accused to be allowed to appeal against the Appeals Chamber's judgment. The defense lawyers contend that the conviction for aiding and abetting murder is in effect a new conviction in the first instance, and that the accused therefore has the right to appeal.

The defense lawyers indicated they might submit a request for the review of the judgment because of new facts that were unknown at the time of the trial, claiming they had spoken with two witnesses and were currently talking with a third witness whose evidence, according to the defense, is ‘critical’ for a review of the judgment.

As the press conference drew to a close, the defense lawyers noted that the ‘Tribunal should not be above law’ and ‘the accused have to be granted permission to appeal’, adding that they expected the Appeals Chamber to call the international organizations, the Serbian government and the Security Council member states to give their views as amici curiae on the ‘right to appeal’.