Prosecutor v. Lukić

Case Name: 
Prosecutor v. Lukić
IT-98-32/1-A (Appeals Chamber Judgement)
Decision Date: 
December 4, 2012
Key Facts: 

Charged defendants for, inter alia, aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, cruel and inhumane treatment of Muslim and non-Serb civilians. By majority, the Trial Chamber III found Sredoje Lukić guilty for his contributory conduct, e.g. carrying arms and transferring individuals to the crime scene (¶¶ 932-933, 984-985). The Trial Chamber also found that Lukić “knew that by his acts he was rendering practical assistance to the commission of the underlying crimes (¶ 1035). The Trial Chamber acquitted Lukić for separate counts, where he was not physically present at the incident (¶ 936).

The Appeals Chamber held that while the Trial Chamber erroneously failed to make a finding as to whether his assistance had a substantial effect on the commission of the crimes, this error did not invalidate the Trial Judgment (¶ 437).


1. “[P]ractical assistance, encouragement or moral support” with “a substantial effect on the perpetration of a crime provided for in the Statute” (¶ 422)

2. “[K]nowledge that, by his or her conduct, the aider and abettor is assisting or facilitating the commission of the offence” (¶ 426)

Affirming the interpretation of the Trial Chamber III (¶¶ 901-902)

Key Passages : 

Rejected the defendant’s argument that the ICTY requires a finding that the actus reus of aiding and abetting be “specifically directed” to assist the perpetrators (¶¶ 423-424). With respect to the perpetration charge, the Appeals Chamber held that the perpetrator must be aware of the discriminatory intent of the principal perpetrators. He need not share the intent but he must be aware of the dicriminatory context in which the crime is to be committed (¶ 458).

See also the Trial Chamber’s analysis:

ACTUS REUS: The conduct need not have any causal relationship with the commission of the principal crime. In terms of the mode of assistance, assistance may occur before, during, or after the principal crime, and may be inferred from physical presence at the scene of the crime (¶ 901).

MENS REA: Knowledge may be inferred from “the relevant circumstances” and must involve awareness of the “essential elements of the crime ultimately committed by the principal, including of his state of mind” (¶ 902). He need not share the principal’s intent.

Appeals Chamber