Consequences for victims

Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 12.11.2009 MILOŠEVIĆ Dragomir

32. The Appeals Chamber recalls that when noting Article 49 (1) of Additional Protocol I, the Galić Appeals Chamber held that the crime of terror can comprise attacks or threats of attacks against the civilian population.[1] It did not limit the possible consequences of such attacks to death or serious injuries among the victims.[2] Rather, it concentrated on the assessment of whether the allegations before it would qualify for the crime of terror under international customary law.

33. The Appeals Chamber finds that the Trial Chamber misinterpreted the Galić jurisprudence by stating that “actual infliction of death or serious harm to body or health is a required element of the crime of terror”, and thus committed an error of law.Causing death or serious injury to body or health represents only one of the possible modes of commission of the crime of terror, and thus is not an element of the offence per se. What is required, however, in order for the offence to fall under the jurisdiction of this Tribunal, is that the victims suffered grave consequences resulting from the acts or threats of violence;[4] such grave consequences include, but are not limited to death or serious injury to body or health. Accordingly, because the Trial Chamber established in the present case that all the incidents imputed to the SRK constituted unlawful attacks against civilians, and thus caused death or serious injury to body or health of civilians,[5] the threshold of gravity required for the crime of terror based on those incidents has been met. Whereas the nature of the acts of violence or threats thereof constitutive of the crime of terror can vary,[6] the Appeals Chamber is satisfied that the actus reus of the crime of terror has been established in this case and does not find it necessary to explore the matter any further.

34. As for the Prosecution’s submission that the crime of terror has no result requirement provided that the underlying acts or threats of violence are “capable of spreading terror”,[7] the Appeals Chamber notes that the travaux préparatoires to Additional Protocol I show that there had been attempts among the delegations to introduce “acts capable of spreading terror” into the language of the prohibition enshrined under Article 51(2) thereof.[8] However, these proposals were not reflected in the final text of the provision.[9] In addition, the Appeals Chamber considers that the definition of the actus reus of the crime of terror suggested by the Prosecution, notably “acts capable of spreading terror”, does not necessarily imply grave consequences for the civilian population and thus does not per se render the violation of the said prohibition serious enough for it to become a war crime within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction.

35. The Appeals Chamber further recalls that the Galić Appeal Judgement clarifies that while “extensive trauma and psychological damage form part of the acts or threats of violence”, the “actual terrorisation of the civilian population is not an element of the crime”.[10] It should be noted, however, that evidence of actual terrorisation may contribute to establishing other elements of the crime of terror.[11] The Trial Chamber in the instant case established that the incidents had had a psychological impact on the population of Sarajevo.[12] In the circumstances of the case, such psychological impact also satisfies the required gravity threshold.[13]

[1] Galić Appeal Judgement, para 102.

[2] Galić Appeal Judgement, para 102.

[3] Trial Judgement [Prosecutor v. Dragomir Milošević, Case No. IT-98-29/1-T, Judgement, 12 December 2007], paras 876, 880.

[4] In paragraph 94 of its Tadić Jurisdiction Decision [Prosecutor v. Duško Tadić a/k/a “Dule”, Case No. IT-94-1-AR72, Decision on the Defence Motion for Interlocutory Appeal on Jurisdiction, 2 October 1995], the Appeals Chamber held that for criminal conduct to fall within the scope of Article 3 of the Statute, the following four conditions must be satisfied:

“(i) the violation must constitute an infringement of a rule of international humanitarian law;

(ii) the rule must be customary in nature or, if it belongs to treaty law, the required conditions must be met […];

(iii) the violation must be “serious”, that is to say, it must constitute a breach of a rule protecting important values, and the breach must involve grave consequences for the victim. Thus, for instance, the fact of a combatant simply appropriating a loaf of bread in an occupied village would not amount to a “serious violation of international humanitarian law” although it may be regarded as falling foul of the basic principle laid down in Article 46, paragraph 1, of the Hague Regulations (and the corresponding rule of customary international law) whereby “private property must be respected” by any army occupying an enemy territory;

(iv) the violation of the rule must entail, under customary or conventional law, the individual criminal responsibility of the person breaching the rule.”

[5] Trial Judgement, paras 911-913, 953.

[6] Galić Appeal Judgement, para 102.

[7] AT. 122-123.

[8] Travaux Préparatoires, Vol. III, CDDH/III/38, p. 203, CDDH/III/51, p. 206; Vol. XIV, CDDH/III/SR. 8, pp. 60, 64.

[9] The committee entrusted with the consideration of draft Article 51 submitted the following with regard to the prohibition of spreading terror: “The prohibition of 'acts or threats of violence which have the primary object of spreading terror is directed to intentional conduct specifically directed toward the spreading of terror and excludes terror which was not intended by a belligerent and terror' that is merely an incidental effect of acts of warfare which have another primary object and are in all other respects lawful.” (Galić Appeal Judgement, para. 103, citing Travaux préparatoires, Vol. XIV, CDDH/215/Freq., p. 274).

[10] Galić Appeal Judgement, paras 102, 104.

[11] See Galić Appeal Judgement, para. 107.

[12] Trial Judgement, paras 740-746, 910.

[13] See supra, para. 33. See also the Prosecution’s oral submissions in this regard (AT. 118).

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ICTY Statute Article 3 Other instruments Additional Protocol I: Article 49(1); 51(2).