Sorry, this entry is only available in srpski.
Sorry, this entry is only available in srpski.
With regard to the judgment rendered by the Court of Appeal in Belgrade in the case of the crime committed in July 1992 in the town of Skočić near Zvornik, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) held a press conference on July 6th, 2018. When deciding upon the appeal, the Court of Appeal in Belgrade upheld the acquittal of members of the „Sima’s Chetniks“ unit for the destruction of a mosque and murder of 27 Roma civilians committed in the village of Skočić in July 1992, but modified the judgment in the case of the accused Zoran Alić, Zoran Đurđević and Tomislav Gavrić, finding them guilty of inhumane treatment, violation of physical integrity, sexual humiliation and rape of protected witnesses.
On June 26, 2018, the Belgrade Court of Appeals issued a verdict confirming the acquittal of members of the “Sima’s Chetniks” unit for the demolition of the mosque and killing of 27 Roma civilians in the village of Skočić (Zvornik, BiH) in July 1992, whilst in relation to the accused Zoran Alić, Zoran Đurđević and Tomislav Gavrić, the Court changed the previous verdict, and sentenced them to prison for rape and inhuman treatment of the three injured parties, protected witnesses.
In the period 2016-2018, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) participated in the implementation of the project “Targeting History and Memory”, supported by the EU Programme, “Europe for Citizens”. Together with the HLC, the partners in the implementation of this project were the Center for Dealing with the Past (Documenta) from Croatia, the History Museum of BH, and Europa Nostra from the Netherlands, with the SENSE Center for Transitional Justice from Croatia taking the lead.
On June 28th 2018, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) presented its Report, “Circumventing Justice: The Statute of Limitation as a Mechanism for Denying War Victims the Right to Compensation”. The Report analyses the practice of courts of the Republic of Serbia in proceedings for the compensation of damages which have occurred as a consequence of the conflicts during the 1990s, and the way in which the courts have interpreted the legal provisions that apply to the statute of limitation for damages arising from a criminal offence.
The Republic of Serbia participated in all the armed conflicts that took place in the territory of the former Yugoslavia during the last decade of the twentieth century. A large number of people died, or disappeared, or became refugees, and very many suffered enormous material and non-pecuniary damage as a result of these conflicts.
The obligation of the Republic of Serbia to provide just compensation to victims of human rights violations arises not only from the substantial provisions of the Serbian Constitution and domestic regulations but also from the international conventions that Serbia has ratified.
In spite of the existence of clear provisions of both domestic and international law and the well-established case-law of international bodies, victims in Serbia find it virtually impossible to enforce their right to reparations before the domestic courts. The difficulties victims face in the process are varied. The standard of proof is set too high, court proceedings drag on for several years, courts do not believe the victims and their evidence, to name just a few. Provisions governing statutory-limitation periods for filing compensation claims – or rather, the way Serbian judges interpret them, is one of the major obstacles faced by victims.
The report Circumventing Justice: The Statute of Limitations as a Mechanism for Denying War Victims the Right to Compensation points out the marked tendency of the domestic judiciary to interpret statute of limitations rules in a manner that leads to the denial of the right to compensation for the victims of gross violations of human rights, by ruling their right to compensation time-barred. Such an arbitrary application of the statute of limitations for bringing compensation claims works against the interests of the victims and amounts to a grave violation of the right to a fair trial guaranteed by both domestic and international regulations.
On Thursday, 28 June 2018, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) will present its report „Circumventing Justice: The Statute of Limitations as a Mechanism for Denying War Victims the Right to Compensation”. The presentation will take place at 12:00 in the Great Hall of the Media Centre. The Report analyses the practice of domestic courts in proceedings for the compensation of damages which occurred as a consequence of past human rights violations.
It can be observed that the domestic courts tend to apply restrictively the provisions concerning the effects of the statute of limitations on claims for damages, and that there is no consistent judicial practice in this regard, to assist in the interpretation of the legal provisions concerning the statute of limitations for such claims, with the result that the victims of past human rights violations are deprived of the right to compensation, with the explanation that the legally prescribed deadline for such claims has expired. Such an arbitrary application of the legal provisions which should regulate the statute of limitations in regard of damage claims, which is detrimental for the victims, has rendered a great number of victims deprived of their right to compensation by the Republic of Serbia, which is responsible for the damage done.
The HLC’s rich practice emerging from the civil suits which it has conducted against the Republic of Serbia on behalf of the victims, represents the basis for the Report. The Report elaborates the basic problems noted in the civil proceedings concerning damages before the domestic courts, the HLC’s experience in the representation of victims in the said proceedings, and the comparative practice of the successor countries of the former Yugoslavia in proceedings concerning compensation for damages.
The following people will discuss the findings of the Report:
Simultaneous interpretation into English will be provided.
On June 15, 2018, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) presented its tenth Dossier: “The JNA in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina“. As the most extensive so far, this Dossier has been covering the period from the end of the 1980s up to May 1992. It explores how the JNA and the political leadership of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) and of Serbia prepared for the wars, the JNA’s involvement in the conflicts, and its contribution to achieving the wartime goals of Serbia, the Republic of Serbian Krajina and Republika Srpska.
Nemanja Stjepanović from the HLC said that the goal of the Dossier was to point to the crimes committed during the armed conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to the responsibility of the perpetrators and initiators, as well as to place these events in a wider historical context for a better understanding of them. The Dossier illuminates the process of the restructuration of the JNA from the Yugoslav into the Serbian army, its transformation as the focus of its activities changed, the alterations of national structures within the JNA, and, finally, the partiality it showed in dedicating itself to the goal of “defending the Serb people”. A survey the HLC conducted, presented within this Dossier, showed that “defence” was reduced exclusively to the conquest of the territory.
The role of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and its transformation from the Yugoslav into the Serbian army, is the subject of this, the tenth Dossier of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC). It is the most extensive of the HLC Dossiers so far, covering the period from the end of the 1980s up to May 1992. It explores how the JNA and political leadership of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) and Serbia prepared for the wars, the JNA’s involvement in the conflicts, and its contribution to achieving the wartime goals of Serbia, the Republic of Serbian Krajina and Republika Srpska.
The introduction section of the Dossier presents facts about the development of the crisis in the former Yugoslavia and the steps undertaken by the leadership of the Republic of Serbia, headed by Slobodan Milosevic, to take control of the JNA, with a view to using it for achieving their own wartime goals. After that, the Dossier presents the role of the JNA in the war in Croatia, and in the BiH.
In each of the examples given of the JNA’s military involvement in Croatia and BiH, the pattern of attacks is described and the JNA units that took part in them are listed. Also, evidence on the identity of the perpetrators of crimes committed during the attacks, whether they were JNA members or members of Serb formations who participated in the actions alongside the JNA, is presented.
The Dossier also presents evidence on the JNA’s role in arming Serb formations in Croatia and BiH in the lead-up to the conflicts, and on the assistance and support it provided to Serb militaries in Croatia and BIH after having formally withdrawn from these republics.
Some of the examples given, which are substantiated by military documents, make clear that after a decision was issued on JNA’s formal withdrawal from BiH in May 1992, its units remaining behind in BiH were simply renamed, to become units of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS). The VRS retained the command structure of the JNA and its manpower, and took possession of its weaponry. This gave the newly established army of the Bosnian Serbs a head start over all other armed formations in BiH.
The Dossier: The JNA in the Wars in Croatia and BiH is available here.