Prosecutor v. Šimšić (Appeal)

Key Judgment


Legal Relevance

Keywords: Systemic Practice | Crimes Against Humanity | Deprivation of Liberty

Themes: Related Crimes | Persons and Groups Affected

The Court made a finding of persecution as a crime against humanity in conjunction with the crime against humanity of enforced disappearance, in light of the fact that the criminal acts were directed exclusively against the Bosniak population. It held that enforced disappearance constituted a crime against humanity under customary international law at the time of the conflict under the general category of "other inhumane acts". The Court further held that the actions of enforced disappearance were indisputably criminal offences at the time of their commission, and that they acquired the characteristics of "war crimes" in time of war. It added that if war crimes are committed with a high degree of cruelty, inhumanity and general criminal conduct, and as part of a plan and system, judges have a discretion to also qualify them as a crime against humanity.

Judgment Date

August 7, 2007

Country

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Judicial Body

Bosnia and Herzegovina - Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Articles violated

Article 172(1)(h) [BCC], Article 172(1)(i) [BCC]

Facts of the Case

Between April and July 1992, in the context of a widespread and systematic attack of the Serb Army, Police, and paramilitary forces directed against the Bosnian civilian population, Mr. Šimšić, a Serb police officer who served in the military, participated in the arrest and unlawful detention of a number of civilians who were taken to an elementary school's premises. Mr. Šimšić was in charge of singling out prisoners and handing them over to members of the Serb Army, Police and paramilitary forces who subjected them to mistreatment, torture and rape. He also assisted the Serb Army, Police and paramilitary forces in taking away some civilians from the premises of the school, who remain unaccounted for at the time of proceedings.

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