The Hague Tribunal will announce its verdict on Yugoslav Army General Momcilo Perisic’s appeal against a 27-year war crimes sentence at the end of this month.
|Momcilo Perisic, ex-Yugoslav Army chief I Photo by ICTY|
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY, announced that it will rule on February 28 on Perisic’s appeal against his conviction for war crimes committed in Bosnia and Croatia during the 1990s conflicts.
Perisic, chief of the general staff of the Yugoslav Army from 1993 to 1998, was convicted in September 2011 of “aiding and abetting a military campaign of artillery and mortar shelling and sniping on civilian areas of Sarajevo andon its civilian population, killing and wounding thousands of civilians”.
According to the first instance verdict, he also “failed to take necessary and reasonable steps to punish his subordinates for the shelling of civilian areas in the city of Zagreb on May 2 and 3, 1995, which resulted in the death and wounding of civilians”.
He was further held responsible for aiding and abetting crimes against the Bosnian Muslim population of Srebrenica in 1995, when more than 7,000 people were killed.
Perisic’s defence appealed against the verdict on the grounds that numerous legal and factual errors were made.
In October last year, during the appeal hearing, his defence lawyer requested that Perisic be acquitted, saying that the prosecution admitted during the trial that not all charges against him were proven.
The first instance verdict was passed with a two votes to one majority. The presiding judge at the trial, Bakone Moloto, disagreed with the ruling, saying that giving support to the Bosnian Serb army to conduct the war was not the same as aiding the commission of war crimes during the conflict.
“I cannot understand the trial chamber’s decision,” Perisic said during the appeal hearing, insisting he was not aware of or responsible for any atrocities.
“How can something be established beyond reasonable doubt if the presiding judge doubts it?” he asked.
Perisic is the most senior officer of the former Yugoslav Army to be convicted of war crimes at the Hague Tribunal.