Thursday, July 10, 2008

ICTY: Trial Chamber Judgment in the Case Against Boškoski and Tarčulovski

Today, the ICTY Trial Chamber rendered its judgment in the case (No. IT-04-82) against Ljube Boškoski, former Minister of Interior of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Johan Tarčulovski, former police officer in the Ministry of Interior. The defendants were each charged (amended indictment here) with three counts of war crimes (murder; wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages; and cruel treatment) related to the August 12, 2001, attack on ethnic Albanians in Ljuboten. Boškoski was charged under a theory of superior responsibility for failing to take necessary and reasonable measures to punish the perpetrators. Tarčulovski was charged as a co-perpetrator for participation in a joint criminal enterprise, for ordering, planning, and instigating the crimes, and for aiding and abetting the crimes. The trial began on April 16, 2007; closing arguments were given from May 6-8, 2008.

In today's decision (summary here; press release here; judgment not yet available online), the Trial Chamber acquitted Boškoski of all charages but convicted Tarčulovski on all three counts. Tarčulovski was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment. With respect to Boškoski, the Trial Chamber found that while there was "a serious failure of the functioning of the police and the responsible Macedonian authorities at that time, it has not been established that Ljube Boškoski failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures for the punishment of the police." Tarčulovski was found to have committed the crimes alleged in the indictment, except for the allegation of participating in a joint criminal enterprise. In addition, the Trial Chamber noted, "Tarčulovski was himself acting under orders in carrying out the police operation in Ljuboten. The evidence does not enable the person or persons responsible for the orders to Johan Tarčulovski to be identified. The circumstances confirm it was a person or persons superior to him."

UPDATE: The judgment is now available here.