On the occasion of the election of the Chief Public Prosecutor for War Crimes

On the occasion of the election of the Chief Public Prosecutor for War Crimes

Deklaratat - 2The High Prosecutorial Council (HPC) is in the process of selecting the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Public Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (POWCP). Snežana Stanojković has applied for the position again. She held the position until the end of her term on 31 May 2023, when she continued to hold it as Acting Prosecutor.

The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) points out that it is necessary for a new prosecutor to be elected within the legal deadline, i.e. by the end of May, in order to avoid the problems that arose in the earlier period, when the Republic of Serbia did not have a prosecutor for war crimes for 17 months. Such a drastic delay in the election of a chief prosecutor jeopardised the conduct of war crimes proceedings, since the deputy prosecutors for war crimes in the period from 1 January 2016 to 31 May 2017, when Stanojković took office, did not have the authority to raise and represent indictments or take any actions in the proceedings.

The position of the Humanitarian Law Center is that Snežana Stanojković should not be re-elected as the Chief Public Prosecutor for War Crimes, as her previous work has shown extremely poor results, and incompetence in the performance of her function, and has led to the collapse of the credibility of the Public Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor. Stanojković’s mandate was marked by the small number of indictments, the non-transparent work of the Prosecutor’s Office, the lack of communication with the public, and the assessment of fellow prosecutors that her work was unprofessional.


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Too little, too late: After 14 years, the first-instance verdict was pronounced for crimes in the Kosovo villages of Ćuška, Ljubenić, Pavljan and Zahać

Too little, too late: After 14 years, the first-instance verdict was pronounced for crimes in the Kosovo villages of Ćuška, Ljubenić, Pavljan and Zahać

#IzSudnice - Sajt - 3Fourteen years after the original indictment was filed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office for War Crimes (PPOWC), the Higher Court in Belgrade, on 24 April 2024, issued a first-instance verdict in the retrial for war crimes committed in the villages of Ljubenić, Ćuška, Pavljan and Zahać during April and May 1999.

The court sentenced to 20 years in prison the defendant Toplica Miladinović, commander of the 177th Military-Territorial detachment (177th VTO) Peć, a unit under the command of the 125th Motorised Brigade of the Yugoslav Army (VJ). In the same verdict, the court also found guilty six members of the 177th VTO Peć, and sentenced Predrag Vuković to 13 years in prison, Abdulah Sokić to 12 years, Siniša Mišić to five years, and Slaviša Kastratović, Lazar Pavlović and Boban Bogićević to two years each. Veljko Korićanin and Milan Ivanović were acquitted of all charges.


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Human rights organizations from Serbia call on the Government and the President of Serbia to support the UN Resolution on the International Day of Reflection and Remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide

Human rights organizations from Serbia call on the Government and the President of Serbia to support the UN Resolution on the International Day of Reflection and Remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide

Deklaratat - 8Human rights organizations from Serbia strongly support the adoption of a United Nations resolution designating July 11th as the “International Day of Reflection and Remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide.”

The facts about the Srebrenica genocide and its legal characterization have been determined beyond reasonable doubt by the judgments of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.

The first judgment for genocide in Srebrenica was delivered to the Commander of the Drina Corps of the Army of Republika Srpska, Radislav Krstić, in April 2004. The then-president of Republika Srpska, Radovan Karadžić, and the wartime commander of the Army of Republika Srpska, Ratko Mladić, who were sentenced to life imprisonment, have also been convicted of genocide, along with Vujadin Popović, Ljubiša Beara, Drago Nikolić and  Zdravko Tolimir.


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HLC Submits Criminal Complaints for War Crimes in Kalesija and Vlasenica in 1992

HLC Submits Criminal Complaints for War Crimes in Kalesija and Vlasenica in 1992

#IzSudnice - Sajt - 4The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) has filed criminal complaints with the Public Prosecutor’s Office for War Crimes of the Republic of Serbia, against Slobodan Pajić and Vlastimir Bećarević, former officers of the First Birač Infantry Brigade of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS), on reasonable suspicion that they ordered and/or committed war crimes in the municipalities of Vlasenica and Kalesija during May and June 1992.

The criminal complaints against Pajić and Bećarević are the result of the Humanitarian Law Center’s research into war crimes committed in the zone of responsibility of the First Birač Infantry Brigade under the command of Svetozar Andrić. The HLC presented the findings of this research to the public in late February 2024 in the Dossier “Svetozar Andrić“. The First Birač Infantry Brigade of the VRS, formed in May 1992, participated in the expulsion of the non-Serb population from the municipalities of Zvornik, Vlasenica, and Kalesija, the killing of civilians during the occupation of the territory, and the burning and destruction of villages.


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Kalinovik Case: War Rape Sentence Reduced to Legal Minimum

Kalinovik Case: War Rape Sentence Reduced to Legal Minimum

#IzSudnice - Sajt  - 5The Court of Appeals in Belgrade upheld the conviction against Dalibor Krstović, a member of the Republika Srpska Army, for the rape of a Bosniak woman in Kalinovik in August 1992, but radically reduced the sentence from nine to only five years in prison.

The Humanitarian Law Center believes that the reduced sentence of imprisonment of five years, which is the legal minimum for the criminal offence of war crime against civilians, is extremely inappropriate for the gravity of the offence committed, that it does not achieve the purpose of punishment, and that such a punishment is humiliating for the victim. Inadequate punishment of sexual violence in war neglects the lasting consequences such a decision has for the victim: the victim is retraumatised, and the crime itself, as one of the most destructive crimes committed in war, is minimised in relation to other war crimes. Exceeding the accusation to the detriment of the defendant, which the Court of Appeal cites as reason for mitigating the sentence, is not such as to justify that decision.


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An Acquittal in Teslić Case Confirmed

An Acquittal in Teslić Case Confirmed

#IzSudnice - Sajt  - 5On 15 December 2023[1], the Court of Appeal in Belgrade upheld the verdict of the Higher Court in Belgrade, which, in the absence of evidence, acquitted the accused Nebojša Mirović of committing the criminal offence of a war crime against civilians during the summer of 1992 in the territory of the municipality of Teslić (BiH). The Humanitarian Law Center believes that the Public Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor in this case failed to argue and substantiate the indictment it had presented.

By the indictment of the Public Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor, Nebojša Mirović was charged on 12 counts, that during the summer of 1992, in the area of Teslić municipality, he and several members of the Teslić police station participated in inflicting physical and mental pain or suffering (torture) and bodily injury on Bosniak civilians.


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30 years without justice: First-instance verdict in Štrpci Case overturned – trial restored

30 years without justice: First-instance verdict in Štrpci Case overturned  – trial restored

Saopstenje-Osmanovic-enOn 30 October 2023, the Court of Appeal in Belgrade issued a decision[1] annulling the first-instance verdict in the Štrpci Case and returning the case for retrial. The Humanitarian Law Center considers it inadmissible that thirty years after the abduction and murder of twenty civilians in Štrpci, the judicial authorities are unable to conduct the procedure in a professional manner and reach a verdict.

Initiating the proceedings again implies the re-traumatisation and exhaustion of the families of the victims and witnesses in this proceeding, as well as the trivialisation of war crimes trials. Such a decision not only delays the imprisonment of the direct perpetrators, one of whom has already died during the proceedings, but also the hope that representatives of the civil, military and police authorities of Serbia and of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia who were familiar with the kidnapping plan in Štrpci, will be prosecuted for the crime. This procedure has not contributed to the discovery of the mortal remains of the victims, which is one of the goals of the National Strategy for the War Crimes Prosecution.


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The Annual Report of the European Commission for 2023 – Serbia Regresses in the Prosecution of War Crimes

The Annual Report of the European Commission for 2023 – Serbia Regresses in the Prosecution of War Crimes

EU report photo - 1On November 8th, 2023, the European Commission (EC) adopted an annual report assessing the situation and progress of the Republic of Serbia on its path to accession to the European Union.

Under Chapter 23 concerning the judiciary and fundamental rights, the EC report includes an assessment of the work of relevant state institutions regarding war crimes trials in Serbia, particularly the Public Prosecutor’s Office for War Crimes (PPOWC), their cooperation with regional and international actors, as well as the efficiency and dedication to criminal justice processes.


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Crime at Ovčara – 32 years of avoiding responsibility

Crime at Ovčara – 32 years of avoiding responsibility

Deklaratat - 4On the occasion of the 32nd anniversary of the crime at the farm at Ovčara near Vukovar, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) requests the institutions of Serbia to prosecute the officers of the former JNA who directly contributed to the commission of that crime, to give up supporting war criminals, to bring to a satisfactory conclusion the years-long search for the mortal remains of victims, and to help enable the creation of a memory culture dignifying victims.


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