Thursday, May 20, 2010

War Crimes: Balkans - war crimes tribunal affirms police officer’s conviction

The United Nations war crimes tribunal for the Balkan conflicts today affirmed the conviction of a former police officer and the acquittal of an ex-government minister in a case related to acts committed during a police operation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in August 2001.

The appeals chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) upheld the 2008 conviction of Johan Tarculovski for ordering, planning and instigating the murder of three ethnic Albanian civilians in the village of Ljuboten, the wanton destruction of 12 houses or other property and the cruel treatment of 13 ethnic Albanian civilians.

The ICTY – which is based in The Hague in the Netherlands – upheld that Mr. Tarculovski’s actions during the police operation constituted “violations of the laws or customs of war,” according to a press release issued by the court today. Mr. Tarculovski will serve out the remainder of his 12-year prison sentence.

Meanwhile, the appeals chamber upheld the earlier acquittal of Ljube Boškoski, FYROM’s Minister of Interior from May 2001 until November 2002 and a co-accused of Mr. Tarculovski, on all charges. Mr. Boškoski had been charged with superior responsibility for failing to punish his subordinates who committed crimes during and subsequent to the police operation in Ljuboten.

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