The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Judge Carmel Agius, visited the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) on 31st October 2017. On this occasion, the judge spoke with representatives of the HLC about the efficiency of the prosecution of war crimes in Serbia, the cooperation of Serbia and the countries in the region with the ICTY, as well as with each other, and the importance of presenting the court-established facts to the post-conflict societies of the former Yugoslavia.
The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) was visited yesterday by activists of “Justice for Peace in Donbass”, from Ukraine. This Coalition gathers NGOs and initiatives from Ukraine with the aim of documenting human rights violations in those regions that have been affected by the armed conflict since 2014. The aim of the Coalition is to collect all relevant human rights violations that will later support court proceedings against perpetrators of crimes and thus provide one of the basic preconditions for the return of peace and reconciliation in East Ukraine.
Jelena Krstić and Relja Radosavljević from the HLC presented to the Coalition activists the work of the HLC in documenting war crimes and other violations of human rights during the armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. The activists from Ukraine were interested to hear about the ways in which the HLC uses the collected documentation to launch criminal and other transitional justice processes. They were particularly interested in Serbia’s attitude towards war crime victims in terms of reparations for injuries suffered, as well as in cooperation between relevant institutions, the attitude of society towards the past and the punishment of war crimes perpetrators.
On October 18th 1991, Serbian Army volunteers led by Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) officers forced fifty Croats from Lovas near Vukovar to go to a minefield near the village. On the way to the minefield,
members of the Serb forces killed one of the detained Croat soldiers. When they came to the minefield, the remaining detainees were forced to enter it and clean the ground with their own feet in order to clear it of mines.
At least one mine exploded, while members of the Serbian forces opened fire, killing 20 detainees, and wounding 12 of them.
This incident was preceded by the psychological and physical torture over several days of local Croatians from Lovas, the deliberate destruction of their houses, killings, detentions and discrimination, such as forcing them to wear white armbands or marking their houses with white fabrics.
On the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the suffering of the inhabitants of Lovas, the Humanitarian Law Center invites you to a public lecture about these incidents in and around Lovas occurring in the autumn of 1991, as well as about the course of court proceedings in Serbia since 2007.
The lecture will be held by the legal representative of the victims, lawyer Marina Kljaić.
This public lecture will be held at the library of the Humanitarian Law Center (Dečanska 12/III), on October 18, 2017, starting at 18:00.
The lecture will be held in local (BCS) languages.
Students from the School for International Training (SIT) visited the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) on Thursday, September 28th, 2017. These students go to various universities in the United States, and as part of the SIT Peace Studies, organized by the Center for Comparative Conflict Studies at the Faculty for Media and Communication, they are currently on a study visit to Serbia.
Relja Radosavljević, Legal Analyst at the HLC, presented the work of the organization, talking about its history, the realization of its project regarding the right to reparations in Serbia and the RECOM Process. Višnja Šijačić, another Legal Analyst at the HLC, also spoke with the students, and presented the achievements in the process of dealing with the past in Serbia, especially focusing on the legal framework and the work of the institutions responsible for the processing of war crimes in Serbia.
Students were particularly interested in the problems that arise in war crimes trials taking place before national courts, and the limitations victims face in exercising their right to reparation.
On Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) presented the report The legal and institutional framework in Serbia regarding the rights and needs of civilian victims of war. This report provides a brief overview of the existing system in Serbia in terms of the rights and needs of civilian victims, and it seeks to ascertain its key shortcomings and identify recommendations for its amendments and improvements.
Armed conflicts in the territories of the former Yugoslavia lasted from 1991 to 2001. The wars in Croatia (1991-1995), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1995) and Kosovo (1998-1999) resulted in the mass murders of civilians, ethnic cleansing and persecution of hundreds of thousands of people, but also a large number of grave crimes unseen in Europe since World War II. Serbia had an active and involved role in these conflicts. In the context of the armed conflicts, the authorities in Serbia during this entire period were responsible for serious violations of the fundamental rights of its own citizens from the ranks of national minorities, as well as of some members of the majority Serbian population. In Serbia today there are a significant number of citizens who came to Serbia as refugees owing to the wars in other countries of the former Yugoslavia, and most of them have remained in Serbia permanently. Among them are a fair number who survived crimes, whose physical and psychological consequences they suffer to this day, as well as many of those who lost one or more family members in the war.
The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) will hold the presentation of the report “The legal and institutional framework in Serbia regarding the rights and needs of civilian victims of war” on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. The presentation will take place in the Great Hall of the Media Center in Belgrade (Terazije 2, II floor) at 11:00.
On Tuesday, July 25th, 2017, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) presented the report “Judging with impunity: The role of prosecutors and judges in show trials of Kosovo Albanians in the period 1998–2000” . The Report points to a number of violations of fundamental human rights committed during criminal proceedings against Kosovo Albanians in the period 1998-2000, before district courts in Serbia.
Around the end of 1996 and the beginning of 1997, the offices of district public prosecutors began indicting Kosovo Albanians en masse, pursuant to Article 125 of the CCY (with reference to terrorism) and Article 136, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the CCY (with reference to association for the purpose of conducting hostile activities). The trials for the above-cited charges were conducted by district courts in Kosovo during 1998 and 1999, more specifically until 9 June 1999 when the Kumanovo Agreement was signed and the army and police began their withdrawal from the territory of Kosovo.