[JURIST] The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs [official website, in Russian] Thursday said [press release, in Russian] the recent acquittal of Bosnian Muslim war crimes suspect Naser Oric [ICTY case backgrounder; JURIST news archive] by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] shows that the court is politically biased, and it should be closed before the expiration of its mandate in 2010 [JURIST report]. Oric was convicted of war crimes [JURIST report] by the ICTY in June 2006 for failing to prevent the murder and inhumane treatment of Serb prisoners in Srebrenica [JURIST news archive] by military police under his command. The ICTY Appeals Chamber reversed his conviction [judgment summary, JURIST report] last week and said that there was insufficient evidence to establish that Oric knew or had reason to know the police he commanded would commit war crimes. In the statement, Russia said Oric's original sentence was unusually lenient, and that the acquittal showed the court's complete inability to serve as an impartial adjudicator. Reuters has more. RIA Novosti has additional coverage.
The indictment [text] against Oric had alleged that military police under his command beat Serb detainees with metal bars, baseball bats and rifle butts and extracted teeth with pliers. Oric was charged with failing to prevent abuses by military police under his command, and was also charged with responsibility for destruction of Serb villages around Srebrenica. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but was released immediately following his conviction as he had already been detained for two years. Former ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte appealed the sentence [JURIST report] in July 2006, after having called for an 18-year prison term.