Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Happens When an Appellant Dies?

ICTY The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia ("ICTY") terminated appellate proceedings today against the former head of Bosnian Muslim forces during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, who had died in April.  

The trial court had sentenced Rasim Delic in 2008 to three years’ imprisonment for failing to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent or punish the crimes committed by his subordinates in July and August 1995, in Livade and also the Kamenica Camp.  

Mr. Delic; had appealed the sentence and was granted provisional release in May 2009 while the proceedings were reviewed. After Mr. Delic’s death, his son filed a request that the appeal process continue.  

The appeals chamber ruled that it is not legally possible to continue appellate proceedings in circumstances where the appellant has died before the rendering of an appeal judgement, and the case should be terminated due to lack of jurisdiction.  

In its decision, the appeals chamber wrote that it “cannot discern any prevalent approach, let alone identify any rules of customary international law that would be directly applicable to the situation at hand.”   

As a consequence, “nothing can undermine the finality of the trial judgement” and ruled that the record of the case remain intact.   

This case represents the first time at either the ICTY or the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) where an appellant has died before the appeals judgment is delivered.

(From a UN Press Release)

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