HLC submits an initiative to the Constitutional Court of Serbia to review the constitutionality of life imprisonment without parole

HLC submits an initiative to the Constitutional Court of Serbia to review the constitutionality of life imprisonment without parole

Ustavni-sud-N1

On September 2, 2019, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) filed an initiative with the Constitutional Court for an assessment of the constitutionality and conformity of the Criminal Code (CC) with the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, the generally accepted rules of international law and ratified international treaties. The HLC considers that the newly introduced provision of the CC concerning the prohibition of conditional release of persons sentenced to life imprisonment, without establishing an effective and efficient mechanism guaranteeing a review of a sentence to life imprisonment, directly violates the provision of Article 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, and Article 3 of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms (Convention).


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The Fate of the Persons Missing in the 1990s Wars in the Balkans: Obstruction instead of civilisational prospects and a humanitarian dimension

The Fate of the Persons Missing in the 1990s Wars in the Balkans: Obstruction instead of civilisational prospects and a humanitarian dimension

REKOM-znak-maliThe Coalition for RECOM has called on the governments of the post-Yugoslav countries to launch a joint push to resolve the fates of the 10,167 persons who went missing during the wars in the territories of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. A precondition for this is that the government commissions cease acting as the harbingers of the interests of the political parties in power and treat all victims with equal importance, recognising that it is in the interest of the families and the general public that the fates of the missing persons be uncovered. The fact that in 2019 the mortal remains of only 85 persons have been identified (60 persons missing during the war in BH, and 25 persons missing in Croatia), indicates a collaboration in the obstruction of the process of resolving this difficult heritage from the shared past. It is of considerable concern that it has become a common practice that exhumation of known mass graves is not being carried out. There are serious indications that certain state institutions, such as the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia and the wartime commanders, possess information on the locations of a large number of mass graves, but that this information is being kept a “state secret” and in private archives.

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Court of Appeal: Time Lapse and Impossibility of Repeat of Crime Regarded as Mitigating Factors for Defendant Charged with War Crime

Court of Appeal: Time Lapse and Impossibility of Repeat of Crime Regarded as Mitigating Factors for Defendant Charged with War Crime

apelacioni sud

The Court of Appeals in Belgrade has handed down a judgment reducing the sentence for Ranka Tomić, who was convicted of a war crime against a prisoner of war, from five to three years in prison. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) considers that the reasons cited for this sentence reduction humiliate the family of the victim and defeat the purpose of war crimes trials conducted before domestic courts.

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(srpski) Pamtimo genocid u Srebrenici

(srpski) Pamtimo genocid u Srebrenici

Sorry, this entry is only available in srpski.

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On the verdict of the Higher Court in Begrade in the Lovas Case

On the verdict of the Higher Court in Begrade in the Lovas Case

lovas

On June 20, 2019, the Higher Court in Belgrade issued a verdict in which it found the eight indictees guilty of a war crime committed in October 1991 in Lovas (Croatia), and sentenced them from four to eight years in prison. Sentences for five indictees were reduced in relation to those imposed in the first instance trial, while for three other indictees the sentences remained the same. Milan Devčić was sentenced to eight years in prison, Saša Stojanović to seven years in prison, Zoran Kosijer, Željko Krnjajić and Jovan Dimitrijević to six years in prison, Darko Perić and Radovan Vlajković were sentenced to five years in prison, and Radisav Josipović was sentenced to four years in prison. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) considers that owing to failures in the work of the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP), only a few perpetrators have been convicted for the crime in Lovas and many victims have been omitted, and that the sentences imposed are too light in relation to the gravity of the crime committed.


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On the verdict of the Higher Court in Belgrade in the Trnje war crime trial

On the verdict of the Higher Court in Belgrade in the Trnje war crime trial

Specijalni sud

The Higher Court in Belgrade on 16 April 2019 handed down a verdict in the case against Pavle Gavrilović and Rajko Kozlina, for a crime committed in the village of Trnje/Terrnje, Kosovo, on 25 March 1999. Pavle Gavrilović was acquitted,but Rajko Kozlina was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) considers that the Court has erred in their assessment of the evidence against Pavle Gavrilović and in finding him not guilty, and that the sentence passed on Kozlina is too light for the severity and consequences of the crime he committed.


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20 years in anticipation of justice and recognition

20 years in anticipation of justice and recognition

bmi-thumbOn Sunday, March 24, it was 20 years since the systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing and violence against Kosovo Albanians, carried out by the armed forces of the Serbian army and police during the NATO intervention in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), began. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) calls on the institutions of the Republic of Serbia to ensure justice for victims of crimes in Kosovo, prosecuting all those responsible, regardless of their position at the time of the commission of the crime, or within the current hierarchy of power. And it calls for public recollection of their suffering.

According to the HLC and the HLC Kosovo data, between March 20 and June 14 1999, Serbian forces killed 6,872 Albanians in Kosovo. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) established that over 800,000 Albanian civilians were deported, that an unspecified number of people were subjected to torture and sexual abuse, and that a significant part of Kosovo Albanian property and religious buildings – were destroyed.


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The Public’s Right to Know about War Crimes Trials in Serbia at risk

The Public’s Right to Know about War Crimes Trials in Serbia at risk

trz-azuriranjeDue to the frequent removal of the content from the official website of the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP), the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) wishes to point out a tendency to put at risk the public’s right to know about the war crimes trials taking place in Serbia. Namely, over the past few weeks, the contents of the war crimes cases that have been processed or are still being prosecuted before the War Crimes Chamber of the Belgrade High Court have been removed from the official website of the OWCP.

During previous years, the website of the OWCP was a rare example of the well-designed and satisfactory page of a state body full of content, where the public was able to become acquainted with documentation of cases that had been prosecuted or whose prosecution was ongoing. However, instead of the different sections of this webpage being updated with new content in a timely manner, it is now no longer possible to find submissions of even elementary information regarding previous statistics, cases, indictments, closing arguments or complaints. By removing the stated content, the public’s right to be informed in a continuous and timely manner about the indictments, as well as about the phases of individual war crimes proceedings, has been endangered.


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