Humanitarian Law Center is starting an audio podcast and blog Memory Cultures in Dialogue

Humanitarian Law Center is starting an audio podcast and blog Memory Cultures in Dialogue

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The first episode of “Memory Cultures in Dialogue”, an podcast of the Humanitarian Law Center, has been released.

What are memory cultures? What is the purpose of politics of memory? What do young people today learn and know about the recent history? In the introductory podcast episode, we are discussing memory cultures and politics. Our guests are historian Olga Manojlović Pintar from the Institute for Recent History of Serbia and sociologist Tamara Pavasović Trošt from the University of Ljubljana.

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War Crimes Trials – Still at The Beginning

War Crimes Trials – Still at The Beginning

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Within the regular activities of the “Monitoring Conflict Related Crime Trials in Kosovo and the Inclusion of the Youth in the Justice Sector” project, in the second half of February 2020, the Humanitarian Law Center in Kosovo (HLCK) finished drafting its planned yearly report on the most significant trials monitored during past year, titled “War Crimes Trials – Still at The Beginning”.

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Criminal charges for the murder of Himzo Fazlić in May 1992

Criminal charges for the murder of Himzo Fazlić in May 1992

zvornik-thumbOn April 22, 2020, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) filed a criminal complaint with the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP) against several unidentified persons, for the murder of Himzo Fazlić in Zvornik in May 1992.

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Report on War Crimes Trials in Serbia during 2019

Report on War Crimes Trials in Serbia during 2019

Report_on_war_crimes_trials_2019-en-thumbOn the following link you could read the 8th Report on War Crimes Trias in Serbia during 2019 prepared by the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC).

The HLC has monitored all war crimes trials conducted in the territory of Serbia during 2019, namely a total of 24 cases conducted before the War Crimes Departments of the Higher Court and the Court of Appeal in Belgrade. The Report provides a brief overview of all the cases and of the HLC’s basic findings in respect of proceedings which are of public relevance. A large number of the war crimes cases covered by this Report have been going on for a number of years now, so that previous HLC Reports on war crimes trials may also be consulted for a full grasp of the course of the proceedings and the relevant HLC findings.

The Report focuses on the work of the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP) and the courts in sessions open to the public, primarily analysing the indictments and judgments in each particular case. An analysis of the work of other bodies involved in the prosecution of war crimes – the War Crimes Investigation Service of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior (MUP), the Witness Protection Unit and others, could not be undertaken in respect of the individual cases, as no information on their activities was publicly available.

In the reporting period, the War Crimes Department of the Higher Court in Belgrade handed down first-instance judgments in eight cases. The War Crimes Department of the Court of Appeal in Belgrade handed down four judgments and one ruling, two of the judgments and the ruling being on appeals lodged against judgments of the Higher Court in Belgrade, and the two other judgments on appeals against judgments of the Court of Appeal in Belgrade in proceedings in which the Department decided at third instance. Over the reporting period, the OWCP filed three indictments against three individuals.

Since it began working in 2003 until the end of 2019, the OWCP brought indictments in 76 war crimes cases, indicting a total of 198 persons and encompassing 2,454 victims who lost their lives. Three of the cases were joined with cases instituted earlier, and final rulings were rendered in 49 out of 73 cases; one case was terminated on account of the death of the defendant; in three cases the indictments were dismissed because the defendants had been found unfit to stand trial; and 20 cases are ongoing. In those cases which have been finally concluded, a total of 70 defendants have been convicted and 52 acquitted.

Preceding the analyses of the cases in the Report is an overview of general findings on war crimes trials in 2019, and of important socio-political developments which have had some bearing on war crimes trials.

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Students of Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights visited HLC

Students of Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights visited HLC

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Students attending the Master’s Programme at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights visited the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) on February 12th, 2020, as part of their study visit to Serbia.


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The HLC presents its Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes and Policy Paper: Prosecution of Crimes of Sexual Violence during Armed Conflicts before the Courts of the Republic of Serbia

The HLC presents its Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes and Policy Paper: Prosecution of Crimes of Sexual Violence during Armed Conflicts before the Courts of the Republic of Serbia

predstavljanje_petog_izvestajaOn Monday, 23 December 2019, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) presented its fifth Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes (Report). Opening a discussion on the Report, Ivana Žanić, Executive Director of the HLC, said that the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes (the National Strategy) had been adopted with the aim of improving war crimes prosecution in Serbia, but also of shifting society’s attitude towards dealing with the past i.e. with the crimes committed during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. Given that the National Strategy expires in 2020, continued Žanić, it cannot be said that it has accomplished its overall aim to date, since war crimes trials prosecution has not improved, nor has public perception regarding these themes changed.


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Fifth Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes

Fifth Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes

fifth_report-enThe Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) has been monitoring and providing support to war crimes trials ever since the first war crimes proceedings conducted in Serbia in 2002. The HLC is the only organization that has been continuously monitoring and analyzing war crimes trials in Serbia and informing the public at home and abroad about them. The HLC has been filing criminal complaints against suspected perpetrators with the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutors (OWCP), and it has also been identifying witnesses and victims and encouraging them to give evidence in court, and thus contribute to achieving justice for past crimes.

The National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes (hereinafter: the National Strategy) was adopted in February 2016. The HLC is the only non-governmental organisation that monitors and reports on its implementation with a view to assisting in a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the state of implementation of the measures and activities set forth in the National Strategy.

This is the fifth HLC report on the implementation of the National Strategy. It covers the period from 1 June 2019 to 1 December 2019. A comprehensive assessment of the state implementation of the National Strategy in the preceding period is provided in the Initial Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes, the Second Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes, the Third Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes and the Fourth Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes which were released and presented in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

As shown by the findings presented in this fifth report, no progress in war crimes prosecutions can be reported for the 44 months since the adoption of the National Strategy. Out of the total of 23 indictments that have been filed since the adoption of the National Strategy, 19 were transferred to the OWCP from B&H. War crimes trials continue to be lengthy, the procedural rights of victims have not been strengthened, and the number of persons identified as missing has been decreasing slower than expected. As regards the attitudes towards war crimes and war crimes trials in Serbia, the past several months have been marked by the continued public promotion of convicted war criminals.

Fifth Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes is available here.

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