Ordering a campaign

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

265. The Trial Chamber has adopted a very general approach in that it did not analyse whether Milošević ordered every sniping or shelling incident, but rather concluded that those incidents could only take place if ordered by him in the framework of the campaign directed against the civilian population of Sarajevo. In principle, this approach is not erroneous as such, given that both the actus reus and the mens rea of ordering can be established through inferences from circumstantial evidence, provided that those inferences are the only reasonable ones. The Appeals Chamber underlines, however, that when applying such an approach to the facts of the case, great caution is required.

266. First, the Appeals Chamber emphasizes that, as the Trial Chamber correctly held in its discussion of the widespread or systematic attack, “[a] campaign is a military strategy; it is not an ingredient of any of the charges in the Indictment, be that terror, murder or inhumane acts”.[1] The Appeals Chamber notes, however, that in other parts of the Trial Judgement, the Trial Chamber appears to hold Milošević responsible for planning and ordering a campaign of crimes.[2] The Appeals Chamber understands these references as illustrating that the crimes at stake formed a pattern comprised by the SRK military campaign in Sarajevo. Therefore, the “campaign” in the present Appeal Judgement shall be understood as a descriptive term illustrating that the attacks against the civilian population in Sarajevo, in the form of sniping and shelling, were carried out as a pattern forming part of the military strategy in place.

Having clarified that Milošević could not be held criminally responsible for planning or ordering a military campaign (but rather for the crimes resulting therefrom), the Appeals Chamber further concluded that there was no evidence of him planning or ordering the campaign as such. Therefore, there was no basis for a conclusion that he planned and ordered the crimes on the ground that they resulted from a military campaign. Consequently, the Appeals Chamber proceeded to analyse whether there was evidence supporting the Trial Chamber’s conclusions that Milošević planned and ordered the crimes resulting from the specific shelling and sniping incidents. The Appeals Chamber further underlined:

271. The Appeals Chamber emphasizes that its findings above pertain strictly to Milošević’s individual criminal responsibility for ordering and planning the campaign of shelling and sniping of civilians in Sarajevo as such, given that not all the legal requirements necessary for these modes of liability have been established at trial. These findings do not affect the conclusions of the Trial Chamber or those of the Galić Trial and Appeal Chambers that such a campaign took place in Sarajevo during the relevant period.

[1] Trial Judgement, para. 927.

[2] Trial Judgement, paras 910-913, 927-928, 932, 938, 953, 966, 975, 978. 

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