ICTY to deliver verdicts in cases of Seselj, Prlic and others in 2012
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is to resume work next week after the Christmas and New Year's holidays, and in 2012 it will continue a few trials, including one against wartime Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic charged with genocide, and is expected to deliver judgements in the "Seselj", "Stanisic and Simatovic" and "Prlic et al." cases.
As for Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, who on 15 April 2011 were sentenced to 24 and 18 years in prison respectively, the tribunal is expected to give its opinion on the defence motions for admission of new evidence in the appeals proceedings. An appeals hearing in this case is tentatively scheduled for March, and a final verdict is expected in August 2013.
In June, the tribunal is expected to render a non-final verdict in the case of six wartime Bosnian political and military leaders, which is seen as one of the most complex cases before the ICTY. It involves leaders of the former self-styled Croat Community of Herceg Bosna - Prime Minister Jadranko Prlic, Defence Minister Bruno Stojic, Croat Defence Council (HVO) generals Slobodan Praljak and Milivoj Petkovic, HVO Military Police commander Valentin Coric, and the head of the Commission for the Exchange of Prisoners of War, Berislav Pusic. The prosecutors recommended that the accused be found guilty and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 25 to 40 years. The defence called for the acquittal of their clients in their closing arguments in 2011.
Due to their complexity, the appeals proceedings in the "Prlic et al." case are unlikely to be completed by the end of 2014 when the Hague-based court is to close its doors.
Closing arguments in the case of Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj are scheduled for 5 March. A verdict for Seselj, charged with inciting, through his hate speeches, atrocities against Croats and Bosniaks in Croatia, in the Serbian province of Vojvodina, and in Bosnia and Herzegovina could be rendered in the autumn of 2012.
The tribunal is expected to announce a judgement in the case of former Serbian intelligence officials Jovica Stanisic and Frenki Simatovic in September this year. Paramilitary troops under their command committed war crimes against civilians in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This year, the ICTY is to decide on appeals in the case of Milan Lukic and Sredoje Lukic for war crimes committed against Bosniaks in Visegrad, eastern Bosnia. Milan Lukic was sentenced by a trial chamber to life imprisonment and Sredoje Lukic to 30 years on 20 July 2009.
Before the end of 2012, the tribunal is expected to open a trial in the case of wartime Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic, who was arrested in Serbia in May 2011 after being on the run for years.
The trial of Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic, who was arrested in Serbia two months after Mladic's apprehension, is tentatively scheduled to commence in January 2013.
The tribunal's trial chamber is to hand down a verdict in the Karadzic case in July 2014 at the earliest.
So far the ICTY has wrapped up trials against 126 accused out of 161 persons charged with war crimes, and proceedings against 35 accused are still under way. Two cases are in the pre-trial stage, five cases with 16 accused are at trial, and six appeals proceedings involving 17 indictees are under way.