Media and Revisionism about the 1990s’ Wars in Serbia

Media and Revisionism about the 1990s’ Wars in Serbia

Mediji_i_revizionizam-enFollowing the regime change in 2012, the new authoritarian regime under the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) put memory politics high on its political agenda. The revisionist history of the 90s’ wars now constitutes the primary source of its political legitimization. At the same time, the new government established a firm grip over media, leaving a few independent outlets still critical of the new memory politics. A majority of mainstream media operate in symbiosis with the regime, actively contributing to the new revisionist narrative. These narratives are further supported and accelerated in tabloid and alternative media, offering an even more radicalized version of the past. In such a mediascape, actors working on critical memory are limited to a few independent media outlets. At the same time, they are under constant threat from the regime and tabloids alike.


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Discussion: Media and Revisionism about the 1990s Wars in Serbia

Discussion: Media and Revisionism about the 1990s Wars in Serbia

Mediji-izvestaj-enOn Monday, 10 April 2023, at 6pm, in CROCODILE’s Centre (43 Karađorđeva St, Belgrade), Humanitarian Law Center is organising a discussion on the topic of Media and Revisionism about the 1990s Wars in Serbia.

At the discussion, the eponymous report will be presented, an analysis of historical revisionism of the wars in the nineties in Serbian media from 2000 to date, by author Katarina Ristić, researcher of the Leipzig University.

In the first period, until 2012, media challenged the war facts primarily following the model of “the spiral of silence”, charging the discoveries of the crimes with a deafening noise in public. After 2012, with the new government in office, revisionist narratives have been on the rise, consolidated within media controlled by the state and mushrooming tabloid press. The review also highlights that the new, revisionist history, predominant in the second period, builds on the heroic heroic remembrance of the Serbian army, which is tapped as the source of Serbian pride. This, the idea of Serbian victims is revived, discarding any accountability for crimes.


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The fifteenth HLC Dossier on the unpunished crimes of the Serbian Volunteer Guard

The fifteenth HLC Dossier on the unpunished crimes of the Serbian Volunteer Guard

Predstavljanje-SDG-slika-ENGOn Thursday, 23 March 2023, Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) launched its fifteenth dossier on potential war crime perpetrators during the wars in former Yugoslavia,  The “Serbian Volunteer Guard“ Dossier presents the facts on the creation, structure and characteristics of actions conducted by the Serbian Volunteer Guard (SVG/the Guard), as well as its participation in the crimes perpetrated during the armed conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The Dossier is based on the military and police documents admitted by the International Criminal Court for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), as well as on the ascertained facts, statements and testimonials, including those of former Guard members as well as media packages and witness statements collected by HLC’s researchers. During the research, HLC identified 189 SVG members who were under the command of Željko Ražnatović Arkan, whose names are among the annexes to this Dossier.


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Dossier: “Serbian Volunteer Guard”

Dossier: “Serbian Volunteer Guard”

Dosije-DG-enThe crimes committed by the Serbian Volunteer Guard (SDG/the Guard), a group formed by Željko Ražnatović (Arkan), and its links with the Serbian police, military and political establishment, were an integral part of the indictments of the ICTY’s Office of the Prosecutor against Slobodan Milošević, Goran Hadžić, Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović.

The trials of Milošević and Hadžić were terminated because they had died before the judgments were passed, but witness statements and evidence presented during the trials contain a wealth of materials about the activities of the SDG. In addition, the ICTY’s Office of the Prosecutor filed an indictment against SDG commander Željko Ražnatović aka Arkan for crimes committed in the area of Sanski Most. In the trial judgment following the retrial of Stanišić and Simatović, the Trial Chamber of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT) established that the SDG was involved in murders, persecution and forced displacement in the area of the so-called Serbian Autonomous Region of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem (SAO SBZS) in 1991 and 1992, in Bijeljina and Zvornik in 1992, and in Sanski Most in 1995. Nevertheless, not a single member of the SDG has been prosecuted for these crimes to date.


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EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: Presentation of the Dossier, “Serbian Volunteer Guard”

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT:   Presentation of the Dossier, “Serbian Volunteer Guard”

Predstavljanje-SDG-slika-ENGOn Thursday, March 23, 2023, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) will present its fifteenth Dossier, entitled “Serbian Volunteer Guard” (Dossier). The presentation will be held in the large hall of the Media Center in Belgrade (Terazije 3, 2nd floor), starting at 12 PM.


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Remembering the 2001 Armed Conflict in Macedonia: Modes of Commemoration and Memorialization

Remembering the 2001 Armed Conflict in Macedonia: Modes of Commemoration and Memorialization

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This paper discusses the strategies of commemorating and memorializing the armed conflict in North Macedonia since its formal ending in August 2001. It argues that there are two prevailing modes of remembering the 2001 conflict in post-conflict Macedonia, which match the domains of the two largest ethnic communities in the state, the Macedonian and the Albanian. Observation of annual developments, however, demonstrates that commemorative practices within the two domains are not as uniform as they might seem.


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Call for Applications: Memory Activism Fellowship – Deadline: 1 October

Call for Applications: Memory Activism Fellowship – Deadline: 1 October

MAFSince 1992, Humanitarian Law Center has worked on documenting war crimes and human rights violations committed in the former Yugoslavia, focusing on the victims and their stories. The organisation advocates for a comprehensive and multifaceted transitional justice process. The work of the HLC is based on three pillars: documentation, justice and memory, with the Memory Activism Program as central for the organisation’s future. With its Memory Activism Program, the Humanitarian Law Center commemorates victims through various initiatives, including public debates, documentary films and digital memory activism on social media and other digital memory practices. In addition to commemorating victims of war crimes and mass human rights violations during the 1990s wars, the Memory Program challenges and confronts the dominant revisionist narratives about the wars, provides informal education, disseminates the judicially determined facts about the wars engagingly, using different media formats. Furthermore, the program conducts policy-oriented research and analysis and commentary of official memory politics in the region.


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