APPEALS CHAMBER TO CONSIDER MLADIC’S ‘HALF-TIME’ JUDGMENT
The Trial Chamber has allowed the defense to appeal against the decision dismissing the motion to drop some counts in the indictment against Ratko Mladic, filed in line with the Tribunal’s Rule 98bis, in mid-May
Ratko Mladic was granted permission to appeal against the Trial Chamber’s decision of 15 May 2014. In the decision, the Trial Chamber dismissed the defense’s request to remove parts of the indictment relating to double genocide and other war crimes against non-Serbs during the BH war. Mladic’s defense has sought leave to file an interlocutory appeal, as it is known, against the decision which confirmed Counts 1 and 2 in the indictment pertaining to the genocide in six BH municipalities in 1992 and in Srebrenica in 1995.
According to the defense, the Trial Chamber’s decision to dismiss the motion filed in line with Rule 98 bis didn’t offer a ‘well-reasoned justification’ for inferring Mladic’s genocidal intent. Rule 98bis allows partial or full acquittal at the half-time of the trial. As the defense noted, their arguments were not given proper weight. The Trial Chamber failed to demonstrate the existence of direct evidence incriminating the accused, the defense noted. Finally, in the view of the defense counsels, the evidence of two protected prosecution witnesses, who were ‘unreliable’ according to the defense, was not given proper weight either.
In its response the prosecution opposed the defense’s request specifying that the Trial Chamber addressed all the evidence that pertained to the elements of genocide. Also, the prosecution maintained, in their decision pursuant to Rule 98bis the judges were not obligated to consider evidence favorable for the accused.
In its decision, Judge Orie’s Trial Chamber didn’t consider the details that the Appeals Chamber should deal with, but merely indicated that the issues raised by the defense might significantly affect the outcome of the trial: this is one of the requirements for an interlocutory appeal to be allowed. The Trial Chamber concluded those issues should be dealt with at this stage rather than at the end of the proceedings, and granted the defense the right to file an appeal.
Ratko Mladic’s defense case was slated to begin on Monday, 19 May 2014. The decision allowing the appeal shouldn’t lead to any further delays.