On behalf of the Coalition for RECOM: The Establishment of RECOM is an Indicator of the Political Maturity of the Leaders of Post-Yugoslav Countries

On behalf of the Coalition for RECOM: The Establishment of RECOM is an Indicator of the Political Maturity of the Leaders of Post-Yugoslav Countries

rekom_logoOn January 27, 2018, in Sarajevo, the Coalition for RECOM held the VIII Assembly Session, and afterwards, on January 28 and 29, 2018, the Eleventh Forum for Transitional Justice in post-Yugoslav Countries.

The Assembly Delegates welcomed the willingness of most leaders of the post-Yugoslav countries to sign the Agreement on the Establishment of RECOM within the framework of the Berlin Process, at the upcoming London Summit in July 2018, thus activating Article 49 of the Draft Statute of RECOM on undertaking preparations for the establishment of the Commission (RECOM).

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Criminal complaint for rape of Roma women in 1993

Criminal complaint for rape of Roma women in 1993

Fond_Logo_200_200On January 29, 2018, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) filed a criminal complaint with the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP) against several unidentified members of the Secretariat of the Interior (SUP) of Beli Manastir, for the rape of six Roma women (including one pregnant woman and three minors) in the basement of the SUP Beli Manastir, in the summer of 1993.

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Ovčara Case: 14 years waiting for justice

Ovčara Case: 14 years waiting for justice

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After 14 years, the first war crimes case before specialized court councils in Serbia came to a close with the new final judgment for the crime at Ovčara near Vukovar. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) points out that the trial in this case is one of the best indicators of the ineptitude of Serbian institutions in dealing with the obligation to approach the crimes from the past with responsibility and dedication.

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An insult to the victims and legitimization of crimes at the highest state level

An insult to the victims and legitimization of crimes at the highest state level

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Speaking on N1 TV station in January 2018, Milovan Drecun, the President of the Serbian Parliamentary Committee for Kosovo and Metohija, referred to the Bytyqi brothers, killed by the Serbian police in July 1999, as „terrorists“. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) considers such a description of these victims, whose family has been waiting for justice for more than 18 years, unacceptable, especially bearing in mind that it comes from a person highly placeed within the power structures of the Republic of Serbia.


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The third acquittal for war crimes in 2017

The third acquittal for war crimes in 2017

Logo FHPOn December 25, 2017, the War Crimes Chamber of the Belgrade High Court delivered a judgment acquitting Marko Pauković and Dragan Bajić of charges for war crimes against a civilian population, owing to a lack of evidence. As members of the Military Police of the Sixth Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army, Bajić and Pauković were accused of murdering Hasan Rahić (aged 60), Minka Jusić (aged 70) Munira Hotić (aged 54), Đemila Behar (aged 54) and the then minor Safeta Behar (aged 12), in the town of Kamičak (Ključ municipality, Bosnia and Herzegovina), on October 10, 1992. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) notes that this is only the third verdict for war crimes cases that has been brought in Serbia in 2017; like the previous two, it is acquitting. In March, the Court of Appeal acquitted Goran Šinik of the murder of civilians in Gradiška (BiH) in 1992; and in April, Neđeljko Sovilj and Rajko Vekić were acquitted of the murder of civilians in the municipality of Bosanski Petrovac (BiH) in December 1992.

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On the occasion of misdemeanour proceedings against the activists of the Youth Initiative STATE DEFENDS WAR CRIMINALS

On the occasion of misdemeanour proceedings against the activists of the Youth Initiative STATE DEFENDS WAR CRIMINALS

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The Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office in Stara Pazova has filed misdemeanour charges against nine activists of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights over the incident that happened on January 17 2017 in the Vojvodina village of Beška. The activists interrupted a forum hosted by the Srpska napredna stranka (Serbian Progressive Party) as a sign of protest, because one of the speakers was the convicted war criminal Veselin Šljivančanin. They were forcibly expelled from the auditorium, beaten and injured. The Humanitarian Law Center believes that the decision of the Prosecutor’s Office in Stara Pazova to initiate legal action against the attacked activists is an indicator that state institutions are siding with war criminals and charging those who take a stand to oppose them.

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Constitutional complaint in Trnje Case for violation of right to trial within reasonable time: Obstruction of war crimes trials without court reaction

Constitutional complaint in Trnje Case for violation of right to trial within reasonable time: Obstruction of war crimes trials without court reaction

Specijalni sudOn Tuesday, November 28, 2017, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) filed a constitutional complaint on behalf of the victims in the Trnje Case for violation of their right to a trial within a reasonable time. This case is being processed before the War Crimes Department of the High Court in Belgrade. The trial in this case was from the beginning obstructed by the accused, who continued with impunity, and during the four years since the indictment was issued, only nine trial days have been held. The HLC considers this case to be a paradigm of war crimes trials in Serbia: all accused persons defend themselves undetained; hearings are scheduled with monthly intervals; a strategy of the defense has for its aim the constant delay of hearings, which is being tolerated; and the few victims who monitor trials believing that they may see justice, are being ignored and humiliated.

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War Crimes Prosecutor drops the only investigation against a high-ranking military officer

War Crimes Prosecutor drops the only investigation against a high-ranking military officer

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On Friday, November 24, 2017, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), on behalf of the victims, filed an objection to the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor’s (OWCP) decision not to prosecute General Dragan Živanović, the former commander of the 125th Motorized Brigade of the Army of Yugoslavia (125th mtbr VJ). The OWCP rendered this decision on March 1, 2017, and, contrary to the law, did not deliver it to the legal representative of the victims; however, the very next day, the prosecutor, Dragoljub Stanković, who conducted the investigation, informed Živanović and his defense attorney regarding the decision. The decision to drop the only investigation against a high-ranking officer of the VJ in secret, and thus to subvert the victims’ right to react in a timely manner, clearly shows that the OWCP, contrary to the obligations accompanying its process of EU integration, does not intend to abandon its habitual practice of guaranteeing impunity for high-ranking persons in the military, police and political structures.


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After the Ratko Mladic Judgment – Using the potential of the ICTY convictions for reconciliation in the region

After the Ratko Mladic Judgment – Using the potential of the ICTY convictions for reconciliation in the region

srebrenica-press_logoOn 22 November 2017, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague pronounced the first-instance judgment against Ratko Mladic, former commander of the Republika Srpska Army (VRS), sentencing him to life imprisonment. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) considers that the facts established, the findings of responsibility and the evidence presented encompass the judicial truth about the genocide in Srebrenica and other crimes committed during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The findings of the judgment and the extensive documentation collected during the proceedings now represent valuable potential for a final and decisive step toward reconciliation and dealing with the past.


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