Procrastination of Court Trial under Disputable Circumstances of Chamber Member Replacement

Procrastination of Court Trial under Disputable Circumstances of Chamber Member Replacement

Saopstenje-Loncar-enHumanitarian Law Center (HLC) flags the suspicious intentions of the Republic of Serbia’s judicial authorities, evinced by substituting a member of trial chamber in the case of Srebrenica, seven years after the proceedings commenced. This elicited doubts in bringing to an end the trial of seven former members of the Special Brigade of the Republic of Srpska Ministry of the Interior for the murder of at least 1,313 Bosniak civilians and, thus, in pronouncing fair judgments. Although the Criminal Procedure Code sets forth that the main trial can be restarted should the composition of the trial chamber change, in this case it is the circumstances that brought about the replacement of the chamber member that are contestable.

The High Court Council has not met its obligation to take a reasoned decision on renewal of the judge’s term of office, which resulted in imminent replacement of the trial chamber member. In order to end the war crime trials without prolongation and to protect the victims’ family members and witnesses from additional traumatisation, HLC calls upon the High Court Council to observe its obligations and act in the interest of fair and just completion of trials, without further delays.


Share

HLC’s Press Release regarding the Judgment of the IRMCT’s Appeals Chamber in the case of Stanišić and Simatović

HLC’s Press Release regarding the Judgment of the IRMCT’s Appeals Chamber in the case of Stanišić and Simatović

PRSS-slika-engThe Appeals Chamber of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) passed a judgment on the case against two former leaders of the State Security Service (SDB) of the Republic of Serbia’s Ministry of the Interior – Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović – establishing an international armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This judgment has finally and unequivocally established the participation of the Republic of Serbia in the armed conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The highest officials of the RS SDB were convicted as members of the joint criminal enterprise for the crimes perpetrated by the Serbian Volunteers’ Guard (SDG), Special Action Unit, Special Operations Unit (JSO) – the Red Berets, Martić’s Police and Scorpions in 1992 in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bijeljina, Zvornik, Bosanski Šamac, Doboj and Sanski Most, and for the crimes perpetrated in 1995 in Trnovo and Sanski Most, as well as for the murder of Marija Senaši, perpetrated in Dalj Planina, Croatia, in June 1992.

The Appeals Chamber has established that Stanišić and Simatović, together with other military, political and police leadership from Serbia, the so-called SAO Krajina, SAO Slavonija, Baranja and Western Srem, as well as from the Republic of Srpska, constituted part of the joint criminal enterprise aimed at permanent expulsion of non-Serb population from the territories under the control of the Serb forces in BiH and Croatia, i.e. – ethnic cleansing.


Share

Trial of Dušan Lončar, JNA commander accused of the crime in Lovas, begins

Trial of Dušan Lončar, JNA commander accused of the crime in Lovas, begins

Saopstenje-Loncar-enTrial of Dušan Lončar, former commander of the Second Proletarian Elite Motorized Brigade of the Yugoslav People’s Army (2nd PEMBR), accused of the war crime against civilian population committed on 10 October 1991 in Lovas (the Republic of Croatia), has begun before the War Crimes Department of the Higher Court in Belgrade.

The indictment of the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP) charges the accused of issuing an order to attack the village of Lovas and its population in the capacity of the JNA’s 2nd PEMBR commander with the rank of colonel, on 9 October 1991. The order instructed that the main forces should block the village and target its facilities with artillery, while the ancillary forces should “cleanse the village of the ZNG and MoI members, as well as of hostile inhabitants “. The following day, 10 October 1991, the forces under Dušan Lončar’s command, acting upon his order, attacked the village and killed “at least 7 civilians“and burnt down several residential buildings.


Share

Osman Osmanović sentenced to three and half years imprisonment

Osman Osmanović sentenced to three and half years imprisonment

Saopstenje-Osmanovic-en

The Court of Appeals in Belgrade handed down a judgment on 26 January 2023, sentencing the citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Osman Osmanović  with final end enforceable conviction of three and half years’ incarceration, because of inhuman treatment of an ethnic Serb civilian detained in the “Rasadnik” (Brčko, BiH), while in capacity of Brčko’s Public Security Station (SJB) inspector. The court extended Osmanović’s detention, in which he has been since arrest at the Sremska Rača border crossing in November 2019, and which is going to last until he is referred to serving his sentence. Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) deems that this case should have been transferred to the BiH judiciary from the very outset, in order to strengthen regional cooperation and trust in the BiH institutions.

Immediately after Osmanović was arrested, the BiH Public Prosecutor’s Office requested his extradition and case transfer from Serbia, given that Osmanović was a citizen of BiH and that the criminal offence had been perpetrated on the territory of that country, where the witnesses and injured parties also are. The request was rejected, so the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP) issued an indictment against him on 21 February 2020, charging him with inhuman treatment of a member of the Republic of Srpska’s Army (VRS) and three Serb civilians who were captives in the “Rasadnik” detention camp, Gornji Rahić settlement, during May and June 1992.


Share

On the occasion of the state commemoration of the NATO bombing anniversary

On the occasion of the state commemoration of the NATO bombing anniversary

Sapostenje-Nato23-enOn Friday, March 24, eight year in a row (not including 2020, when there was no commemoration due to the Covid-19 pandemic and state of emergency), the central state commemoration of the anniversary of commencement of the NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) was held. Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) draws attention to the established facts on the Kosovo war and bombing campaign of the FRY, warning against the threat of history revisionism undertaken by the state.

Let us recall that the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, used to make references to thousands of casualties of NATO’s air raids until 2022, most often mentioning 2,500 victims. At the 2018 commemoration, he stated that the Republic of Serbia had “more than 2,000 recorded, well remembered names”. However, as of 19 October 2021, when the Serbian Parliament rejected the proposal to set up the previously announced national commission which would be tasked with making a list of the bombing casualties, the President ceased to mention the number of victims. Speculating with the figures was resumed by the public broadcaster RTS, which this year highlighted that during the NATO bombing, “1,100 members of the Army and police were killed“ and “around 2,500 civilians, although the accurate list of victims has not been established yet ”.


Share

WE REMEMBER: 30 years since the crime in Štrpci

WE REMEMBER: 30 years since the crime in Štrpci

Strpci---pamtimo-srOn Monday, February 27, 2023, three decades have passed since the crime in Štrpci. Thirty years ago, members of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS), at the railway station in Štrpci (BiH), took 20 passengers from the train on the Belgrade-Bar route and killed them. In the past year, courts in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have issued three first-instance convictions for this crime. However, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), Women in Black, the Sandžak Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Youth Initiative for Human Rights remind that even after 30 years, the families of the victims have not received justice.


Share

Serbia Authorities should support the agreement on Kosovo

Serbia Authorities should support the agreement on Kosovo

Saopstenje-enTo the President of the Republic of Serbia,
Government of the Republic of Serbia and
to the National Assembly,

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, ask the President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, the Government of the Republic of Serbia, and the National Assembly to accept the proposals regarding taking the necessary steps leading to the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Prishtina. The institutions of the Republic of Serbia and their representatives, as holders of public functions, are obliged to guarantee to their citizens and future generations the full implementation of future agreements between Kosovo and Serbia.

This is a historic opportunity for the authorities in Serbia and its citizens to accept reality and lay the foundations for building good-neighborly relations between Serbs and Albanians, which would permanently change the perspective of the entire Balkans. Any impossibility of negotiating with Prishtina has its roots in our conflictual past. It is necessary to find solutions by working on the causes that represent our misunderstanding and have consequences on people’s daily lives.


Share