Prosecutors at the Hague-based court tasked with continuing the job of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) have requested the forming of a council to review the consequences of a recent decision to exclude three judges in the appeal case of war crimes defendant Ratko Mladic, according to the Detektor.ba news portal.
In a first instance ruling last year, the ICTY found Mladic guilty of a number of crimes committed during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, including the genocide in Srebrenica, the persecution of Muslims and Croats, terror tactics against the population of Sarajevo, and taking UNPROFOR personnel hostage.
International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (UNMICT) Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti on Wednesday accepted an appeal by Mladic's defence and excluded Carmel Agius, Liu Daqun and Theodor Meron from the second-instance procedure in the case.
The UNMICT is tasked with finishing the job of the ICTY, which closed its doors last year.
According to Detector.ba, UNMICT Prosecutor Katrina Gustafson said the council must be formed since Antonetti’s decision ‘represents a definitive shift in the established judicial practice at International criminal courts until now.’
‘The Prosecution disputes the decision by Antonetti. This decision ignored established standards regarding judicial objectivity and resulted in a big mistake,’ Gustafson said, adding that it is now the obligation of the UNMICT President to name a three-member review council.
Antonetti approved the request to remove the three judges saying that they are biased because they made decisions in previous trials involving Mladic.
The decision sparked numerous reactions.
While Mladic’s lawyers praised it, associations of war victims in Bosnia criticised it heavily, expressing fears that justice will not be served.