MILORAD TRBIC GENOCIDE CONVICTION UPHELD
Srebrenica Genocide Conviction Upheld
Trial Verdict in Trbić Upheld
Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina
Following a public hearing, the Appellate Panel rendered the Appellate Verdict, refusing as unfounded the appeals submitted by the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, the Defence Counsel for the Accused Trbić and the victims, and upholding the Trial Verdict of 16 October 2009 in its entirety.
Under the Trial Verdict, the Trial Panel found the Accused Milorad Trbić guilty of the criminal offence of Genocide, as a participant in a joint criminal enterprise, in the period from 12 July to 30 November 1995, together with Colonel Ljubiša Beara, Lieutenant Colonel Vujadin Popović, Lieutenant Drago Nikolić and others, with a common purpose and a plan to capture, detain, summarily execute and bury all able-bodied Muslim men from the Srebrenica enclave, who were brought to the Zvornik Brigade area of responsibility. The Panel found that the alleged common purpose and plan are tantamount to the commission of the crime of Genocide. Therefore, for participating in the joint criminal enterprise, the Accused Trbić was sentenced to the long-term imprisonment of 30 years.
The Accused was acquitted of the counts related to the Bratunac Brigade area of responsibility, considering that the Panel did not find sufficient evidence to convict the Accused for participation in this operation beyond a reasonable doubt.
The maximum penalty for this offence is 45 years. According to the law, the Panel must also consider the extenuating circumstances. In sentencing the Accused, the Panel found that there are both mitigating and aggravating circumstances. In its consideration of the mitigating circumstances, the Panel found that Trbić did not participate in the overall planning of these criminal acts, hence the criminal sanction reflects his level of liability in the overall plan.
The Prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, the Defence Counsel for the Accused and a certain number of victims appealed the Trial Verdict in a timely manner.
The Prosecutor appealed on the grounds of the erroneously and incompletely established state of facts and the decision on sentence, and moved the Appellate Panel of the Court to grant the Appeal as well-founded and revoke the contested Verdict in part, specifically in its acquitting part, as well as to order a retrial before the Appellate Panel, and to uphold the Trial Verdict in its sentencing part. As for the sentence, the Prosecutor moved that the Trial Verdict be reversed, and the Accused Milorad Trbić sentenced to the long-term imprisonment of 45 years.
The Defence Counsel for the Accused appealed the Trial verdict on all grounds, including essential violations of the criminal procedure, violations of the Criminal Code, the erroneously established state of facts and the decision on the sentence, and moved the Panel to revoke the contested Verdict in its sentencing part, hold a hearing, after which the Appellate Panel would review the facts and evidence properly and in accordance with the law, eliminate the referenced and other major criminal procedure violations, and acquit the Accused Milorad Trbić of the charges.
Appeals were also filed by a certain number of victims, against the part of the Verdict on the costs and property claims. Namely, given the poor financial standing of the Accused, he was exempted from paying for the costs of criminal proceedings, while the victims were referred to take civil action in view of their property claims.
On 21 October 2010, the Appellate Panel held a public hearing, where the Prosecutor and the Defence Counsel for the Accused briefly presented their appeals and maintained their respective grievances in their entirety. In their view, oral presentations of their adversary were unfounded; hence they moved the Court to refuse them as such. In review of the grievances, the Appellate Panel found their grievances to be meritless, and upheld the Trial Verdict.