Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes and presentation of Regional Judicial Cooperation in the Prosecution of War crimes: Analysis and Improvement Recommendations

Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes and presentation of Regional Judicial Cooperation in the Prosecution of War crimes: Analysis and Improvement Recommendations

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On Thursday, 20 December 2018, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) presented its “Third Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes”. Opening the discussion on the report, Ivana Žanić from the HLC pointed out that the main obstacle to gathering information for the preparation of this report has been the fact that the Working Body, which should monitor and report on the implementation of the National Strategy, was established after a year and a half of delay. So far, they have published a total of four reports, which together cover the period up until September 2018. Apart from the fact that the reports of the Working Body were late, they have often also been confusing and difficult to understand, and some their estimates of the implementation of the activities both arbitrary and illogical.

The author of the Third Report, Višnja Šijačić, pointed out that the HLC’s findings show that 33 months since the adoption of the National Strategy, there has been no progress in the field of war crimes prosecution. The delay in the implementation of the Strategy is a dominant factor, war crimes trials continue to be unreasonably long, and no progress has been made in the field of the procedural rights of victims, while the number of missing persons has not been reduced at the expected rate. She pointed out that in the period covered by this report there was no progress in terms of improving society’s attitudes towards war crimes or war crimes trials. On the contrary, the past few months have seen an expansion of the promotion of convicted war criminals in the public, and the denial of genocide in Srebrenica.

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Students from Sweden Visiting the HLC

Students from Sweden Visiting the HLC

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On Thursday, December 13, 2018, members of the the Uppsala Association of Foreign Affairs (Sweden) visited the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC). The group of 16 young people is visiting the Balkans, where it will meet with representatives of institutions and civil society organizations. They are interested in discussing issues of peace and conflict, human rights, relations with the European Union, feminism and culture.

The work of the HLC and the current situation as regards dealing with the past in Serbia were presented by Budimir Ivanišević and Jelena Krstić. The students were particularly interested in the gender perspective on the armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia,  the attitude of Serbian society towards the established judicial facts, educational policies, youth activism in the context of dealing with the past, and  the impact of social support on dealing with the past to establish justice for crimes committed.

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EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: Presentation of the Third Report on the Implementation of the National War Crimes Prosecution Strategy and “Regional Judicial Cooperation in the Prosecution of War Crimes: Analysis and Improvement Recommendations”

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: Presentation of the Third Report on the Implementation of the National War Crimes Prosecution Strategy  and  “Regional Judicial Cooperation in the Prosecution of War Crimes: Analysis and Improvement Recommendations”

Logo FHPOn Thursday, 20 December 2018, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) will present the “Third Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes” and the Analysis “Regional Judicial Cooperation in the Prosecution of War crimes: Analysis and Improvement Recommendations”. The presentation will take place at 11:00 in the Great Hall of the Media Centre (Terazije 3, 2nd Floor).

On 20 February 2016, the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the first National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes 2016-2020. The HLC has been monitoring the implementation of the National Strategy since its adoption, in order to offer its assessment of and findings on the state of implementation of this Strategy. The third HLC Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy (Report) provides an overview of the implementation of activities in the period from 1 June 2018 to 01 December 2018, in eight areas covered by the National Strategy. The report points to key deficiencies and identifies recommendations for improving the situation in these areas.

The HLC will also present its Analysis, “Regional Judicial Cooperation in the Prosecution of War crimes: Analysis and Improvement Recommendations”, which examines the existing normative framework for regional cooperation and the challenges it faces, with a view to proposing a set of recommendations for the improvement of regional cooperation and enhanced effectiveness of cooperation mechanisms.

Speakers: 

  • Ivana Žanić, Humanitarian Law Center
  • Višnja Šijačić, Humanitarian Law Center
  • Erna Mačkić, BIRN
  • Jelena Đokić Jović, Documenta – Centre for Dealing with the Past
  • Bekim Blakaj, Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo

Simultaneous interpretation into English will be provided.

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27 years since crimes in Škabrnja and Nadin

27 years since crimes in Škabrnja and Nadin

skabrnjaOn Sunday, November 18, 2018, we mark exactly 27 years since the commission of the crimes by members of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) and Territorial Defence (TO) of Benkovac against Croatian civilians in the villages of Škabrnja and Nadin. Although the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) filed criminal charges for these crimes with the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP) in November 2017, to date the HLC has no information as to whether the OWCP has taken any legal action that would lead to the trial of those responsible for this crime.

Early in the morning on November 18, 1991, the JNA, together with the Benkovac TO, entered the village of Škabrnja from the nearby village of Smilčić, which was predominantly inhabited by Serbs. After entering the village, they destroyed the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After that, 41 Croat civilians were killed in various locations in Škabrnja. The next day, in the nearby Nadin, seven more civilians were killed. Most of the locals killed were elderly people, including 16 women, one of whom was a person with disabilities.

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Two years after the filing of the criminal complaint against Dušan Lončar, the OWCP has still not taken action

Two years after the filing of the criminal complaint against Dušan Lončar, the OWCP has still not taken action

Specijalni sudToday, exactly two years have passed since the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) filed a criminal complaint with the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP) against Dušan Lončar, former Commander of the Second Proletarian Elite Motorized Brigade of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA 2nd PEMBR), for the crime committed in the village of Lovas (Croatia) in October 1991. The HLC informs the public that since the lodging of the criminal complaint, the OWCP has done nothing to investigate this crime and prosecute those responsible.

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Criminal charges for the murder of Matijević familly in April 1992

Criminal charges for the murder of Matijević familly in April 1992

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On October 16, 2018, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) filed a criminal complaint with the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP) of the Republic of Serbia against several unknown persons, for killing three members of the Matijević family in April 1992 in Kukujevci (Municipality of Šid, Serbia).

In the late evening hours of April 20, 1992, several unknown persons entered the courtyard of the Croatian family Matijević in Kukujevci. They took Ana, Joza and their son Franjo Matijević, a minor, from the house, and drove them to an unknown destination. Several years later, their mortal remains were exhumed from the cemetery in Mohovo (Municipality of Ilok, Croatia). To date, no one has been charged for this crime before the courts in Serbia.


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Invitation to a book launch and a discussion

Invitation to a book launch and a discussion

diane-en-thumbOn October 5th, on the occasion of the presentation of her new research published in the book “Some Kind of Justice – The ICTY’s Impact in Bosnia and Serbia”, the Humanitarian Law Center will host professor Diane Orentlicher.

Diane Orentlicher, Professor of International Law at American University, has been described by the Washington Diplomat as “one of the world’s leading authorities on human rights law and war crimes tribunals.” She has lectured and published widely on issues of transitional justice, international criminal law. Professor Orentlicher has served in various public positions, including as the Deputy for War Crimes Issues in the U.S. Department of State; United Nations Independent Expert on Combating Impunity, and Special Advisor to the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

In her new book, Professor Orentlicher offers a groundbreaking and timely account of how an international criminal tribunal affects local communities and the factors that account for its changing impact over time. Through an in-depth case study, „Some Kind of Justice“ offers fresh insights about two questions now the subject of robust debate: What goals can we plausibly assign to international criminal tribunals? What factors determine the impact of distant courts on societies that have seen vicious violence? The book explores the influence of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, launched in 1993 by the UN Security Council at the height of ethnic conflict accompanying the breakup of Yugoslavia, in two countries directly affected by its work. One, Bosnia-Herzegovina, experienced soaring levels of ethnic violence, culminating in the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica. The wartime government of the other country, Serbia, plunged the region into conflict. Scheduled to close at the end of 2017, the ICTY is the longest-running war crimes tribunal in history, and thus offers an incomparably rich case study of how a Nuremberg-inspired tribunal influences societies emerging from ruinous violence.

This will be an opportunity to discuss how the ICTY also impacted other post-Yugoslav states. Our interlocutors will include:

  • Hrvoje Klasić, Historian, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • Erna Mačkić, BIRN, BH
  • Adriatik Kelmendi, journalist, Kosovo
  • Nemanja Stjepanović, journalist, Serbia

The book presentation and a debate will take place on October 5th 2018, at the Cultural Center „Parobrod“, starting at 7 p.m.

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