Right to respect for dignity as human beings

Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 11.04.2018 ŠEŠELJ Vojislav
(MICT -16-99-A)

159.  The Appeals Chamber recalls that persecution as a crime against humanity under Article 5(h) of the ICTY Statute is an act or omission which: (i) discriminates in fact and which denies or infringes upon a fundamental right laid down in international customary or treaty law (actus reus); and (ii) was carried out deliberately with the intention to discriminate on one of the listed grounds, specifically race, religion, or politics (mens rea).[1] In assessing whether speech may constitute an underlying act of persecution, the ICTR Appeals Chamber in the Nahimana et al. case held that “speech inciting to violence against a population on the basis of ethnicity, or any other discriminatory ground, violates the right to security of the members of the targeted group and therefore constitutes ‘actual discrimination’”.[2] It further held that the context in which the underlying act of persecution takes place is particularly important for the purpose of assessing its gravity.[3]


163.  […] The Appeals Chamber also considers that Šešelj’s speech denigrated the Croatians of Hrtkovci on the basis of their ethnicity, in violation of their right to respect for dignity as human beings. In the Appeals Chamber’s view, Šešelj’s speech rises to a level of gravity amounting to the actus reus of persecution as a crime against humanity. […].

[1] See, e.g., Nahimana et al. Appeal Judgement, para. 985; Kvočka Appeal Judgement, para. 320; Blaškić Appeal Judgement, para. 131.

[2] Nahimana et al. Appeal Judgement, para. 986, referring to Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

[3] Nahimana et al. Appeal Judgement, paras. 987, 988.

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ICTY Statute Article 5(h)