Ministry Stronger than Any Court or Law: Families of Victims from Sjeverin Still Deprived of their Legal Rights

Ministry Stronger than Any Court or Law: Families of Victims from Sjeverin Still Deprived of their Legal Rights

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On receiving the order of the Administrative Court to decide once more on the request filed by Rasim Pecikoza, the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs again refused to grant him, as a family member of a civilian victim of war, the right to a monthly cash benefit, and explained this decision by stating that this right cannot be granted to a victim who died outside the territory of Serbia. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), which represents Rasim Pecikoza, holds that the Ministry has acted in violation of the law and contrary to the positions taken by the Administrative and Constitutional Courts, thus placing itself above judicial institutions, and has confirmed its earlier intention to deprive the greatest number of civilian victims of war in Serbia of their legally guaranteed rights. The HLC will again seek, in this case and in other similar cases, protection before the Administrative Court on behalf of the plaintiffs.


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Criminal Complaint for Crime at Golo Brdo in 1993

Criminal Complaint for Crime at Golo Brdo in 1993

Logo FHPOn January 31st, 2017, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) filed a criminal complaint with the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor for a crime against prisoners of war committed against members of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in July 1993, at Golo Brdo on Mount Igman in Bosnia.

The complaint was filed against the then Commander of the Republic of Srpska Army (VRS) Igman Brigade Quick Reaction Unit, Miroslav Škorić, and five identified and a number of unidentified members of the VRS.

After taking control of Golo Brdo on July 17th, 1993, members of the VRS Igman Brigade Quick Reaction Unit, under the command of Miroslav Škorić, detained four members of the Army of BiH in two bunkers. They immediately killed Robert Kahrimanović, and took the remaining three prisoners to the base of Mount Igman, not far from Blažuj, where they were met by the former Commander of the Quick Reaction Unit, Branislav Gavrilović. On Gavrilović’s orders, two of the prisoners, Živko Krajišnik and Rusmir Hamalukić, were killed, whilst the fourth prisoner, Perica Koblar, was taken to the Military Police HQ in Blažuj and handed over to members of the VRS. Koblar spent seven days in prison in Blažuj, where he endured torture on a daily basis. After seven days in prison, Koblar was released.

Perica Koblar testified about this event for two days before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, in the Vojislav Šešelj case (Koblar testified in this case on June 10th and 11th, 2008). No one has been prosecuted in Serbia for this crime to date.

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Bar Association of Belgrade Abuses Public Powers

Bar Association of Belgrade Abuses Public Powers

AKB-zloupotrebljava_javna_ovlascenjaOn January 19th, 2017, the Steering Committee of the Bar Association of Belgrade (BAB) denied the request filed by the former War Crimes Prosecutor, Mr. Vladimir Vukčević, for registration in the Directory of Attorneys-at-Law, assessing that he is unworthy of membership. The Steering Committee of the Bar Association of Belgrade stated that, as the War Crimes Prosecutor, he did not engage in his duty professionally, and also criticized him for allegedly not prosecuting sufficiently the cases in which Serbs were victims and for allegedly allowing the Founder of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), Ms. Nataša Kandić, to take „absolute power in the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor“. The HLC points out that this Decision rendered by the Steering Committee of the BAB in its capacity of public authority is illegal and that such an interpretation of „worthiness“ represents explicit pressure on the current and future representatives of this independent profession.

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Attack on Youth Initiative for Human Rights activists condemned

Attack on Youth Initiative for Human Rights activists condemned

Osuda_napada_na_aktivisteAt a public meeting of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), held in Beška near Inđija on 17 January 2017, members of the above-mentioned party physically attacked activists of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia (YIHR), injuring several of them on that occasion. The attack took place when the YIHR activists unfurled a banner which read, “War criminals should become silent so that the victims can be spoken about!”, thereby stopping the speech of the Hague convict Veselin Sljivancanin, who was being hosted on this tribune of Serbia’s ruling party. A group of SNS supporters, including representatives of the local municipal government in Inđija, attacked the YIHR activists, tore down the banner and threw them out of the premises violently. Several activists fell down and were kicked on this occasion. Two activists were severely injured, while the others suffered head injuries. Their cars also suffered material damage. These activists were mostly students of both sexes.

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War Criminal In Presidency of Republic of Serbia

War Criminal In Presidency of Republic of Serbia

krajisnikThe Office of Tomislav Nikolić confirmed on January 11th, 2017, that he is going to meet the wartime Speaker of the Republic of Srpska Parliament, the convicted war criminal Momčilo Krajišnik, in the building of the General Secretariat of the President of the Republic of Serbia, Belgrade. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) maintains that this move made by the President represents an unacceptable mockery of the victims, and is in direct contradiction with the proclaimed intention of Serbia to work on  reconciliation in the region.


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Petition against Election of Danica Marinković for Position of Member of Board of Anti-Corruption Agency

Petition against Election of Danica Marinković for Position of Member of Board of Anti-Corruption Agency

skupstina_beogradThe Administration Committee of the National Assembly of Serbia has proposed Danica Marinković, a former investigative judge of the Priština District Court at the time of the war in Kosovo, as a candidate for the position of  Member of the Board of the Anti-Corruption Agency. The National Assembly will be deciding on the election of the candidate in an urgent procedure. Human rights organizations underline that there is ample evidence available to the public, already presented in books, newspaper articles, and reports (for instance, those issued by the Humanitarian Law Center and Human Rights Watch), as also before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which points to the fact that during the time she served as a judge, she expressed political bias and unprofessional behaviour; for which reason, Danica Marinković is not fit to work in an independent state body.


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25 Years Since Crime at Ovčara Victims’ trust in domestic judiciary is betrayed

25 Years Since Crime at Ovčara Victims’ trust in domestic judiciary is betrayed

Ovcara 25 godinaNovember 20th 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the crime committed at „Ovčara“ farm near Vukovar, when members of the local territorial defense unit (Teritorijalna odbrana – TO) and Serb volunteers under the command of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) killed 265 Croatian civilians and prisoners of war. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) on this occasion would like to remind the public that the trial of this case before the domestic courts has not yet been finally completed, even after more than 12 years.


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Legal protection for the denial of genocide in Srebrenica

Legal protection for the denial of genocide in Srebrenica

Srebrenica-masovna_grobnicaOn 15 November 2016, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia opened the debate on the Bill on Amendments to the Criminal Code, which prohibits public approval and denial of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, but only if those offenses have been established by the final judgment of a court in Serbia or the International Criminal Court. This would provide legal protection to revisionists of facts which have been established before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) calls upon the Members of the National Assembly to amend the proposed bill so that it includes a ban on the denial of facts established by the ICTY and the ICJ, in accordance with the domestic and international legal obligations of the Republic of Serbia.

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Crime in Tuzla’s Kapija: Revision of the judicially established facts and putting regional cooperation to the test

Crime in Tuzla’s Kapija: Revision of the judicially established facts and putting regional cooperation to the test

Tuzlanska KapijaThe War Crimes Department of the Higher Court in Belgrade has been conducting proceedings for the recognition and execution of the final judgment passed by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), by which Novak Đukić was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for a war crime against a civilian population, which he committed by ordering an artillery strike on the Tuzla downtown area known as Kapija on 25 May 1995. At the same time, Đukić’s defence team has been waging a campaign in Serbia to publicly prove Đukić’s supposed innocence. In an effort to deny the facts established in the final judgment against Đukić, his defence team is using the results of an experiment conducted at the training grounds of the Army of Serbia in Nikinci, near Ruma. On the basis of this out-of-court experiment conducted by experts hired by Đukić himself, it was concluded that Đukić and the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) are not to be held responsible for the massacre of civilians in Tuzla.

The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) considers that the War Crimes Department of the Higher Court in Belgrade must not take into consideration the results of the abovementioned experiment, and urges it to comply promptly with the Court of BiH’s request, counter the obstructions of Đukić’s defence team and thus demonstrate, through its actions, its true commitment to regional cooperation in prosecuting war crimes. Additionally, the HLC urges the domestic authorities, especially the Army of Serbia, to stop supporting efforts aimed at denying judicially established facts and at negationist revisions of the recent wartime past.

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Criminal Complaint for Crime in Lovas Committed In 1991

Criminal Complaint for Crime in Lovas Committed In 1991

Krivicna prijava LovasThe Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) filed a criminal complaint on November 2, 2016, with the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor of the Republic of Serbia, for a war crime committed in October 1991 against Croat civilians in the village of Lovas in Croatia (CRO).

The complaint was filed against the former Commander of the Second Proletarian Elite Motorized Brigade of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA 2nd PEMBR), Dušan Lončar.

On October 9th, 1991, Dušan Lončar ordered an attack on the village of Lovas (East Slavonia) and the cleansing from the terrain of members of the Croatian National Guard and of the Republic of Croatia Ministry of the Interior, as well as of population ”showing hostility”. Early in the morning the following day, Lončar ordered the Howitzer Division of the JNA 2nd PEMBR to open fire and launch an artillery attack on Lovas, in which two Croat civilians were killed. Soon after this, members of the Dušan Silni (‘Dušan the Mighty’) volunteer unit entered Lovas, as part of the execution of the order issued by Lončar, and started shooting at random, and throwing hand grenades into backyards and houses. They killed several civilians while they were in their homes, and took others outside their houses and killed them in the street or other places, which resulted in the destruction and damaging of civilian property and the death of 21 civilians.

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