Sorry, this entry is only available in srpski.
Sorry, this entry is only available in srpski.
On Thursday, January 31, 2019, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) presented its eleventh dossier on possible perpetrators of war crimes during the armed conflicts of the 90s in the former Yugoslavia. The Dossier “Crimes against the Croats in Vojvodina” shows that in the period 1991-1995, in the territory of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, there was a campaign of intimidation and pressure on Croatian civilians, with the aim to force them to leave their homes, and Serbia as well.
Opening the event, the director of the HLC legal programme, Ivana Žanić, stated that evidence was presented in Dossier about threats, intimidation, destruction of property and the disappearances and murders of Croats throughout Vojvodina. The main inspirers of the campaign of intimidation and persecution of Croats were members of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS), led by Vojislav Šešelj, as well as various groups associated with this party. In this persecution of Croats, members of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) and of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior (MUP) also participated, including the State Security Service (RDB). Šešelj explicitly called for the persecution of Vojvodina Croats in his speeches, advocating for the forced removal of as many Croats from Serbia as of Serbs forced to move from Croatia. At that meeting in Hrtkovci, on May 6, 1992, Vojislav Šešelj said that there was no place for Croats in Vojvodina, which is why Serbs from Hrtkovci should “get rid of them” as soon as possible. After this speech, a campaign of intimidation began, which resulted in the departure of around 450 Croatian families from Hrtkovci. Žanić concluded that there is nothing surprising about the absence of any reaction by state organs to the statement made by Vojislav Šešelj after the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) had convicted him of persecuting Croats from Hrtkovci – that he would gladly repeat his war crimes – since the current political officials of Serbia were mostly members of the SRS at the time when the Croats were expelled from Vojvodina.
On Wednesday, January 30, 2019, a meeting of representatives of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Courts (IRMCT) and of non-governmental organizations from Serbia was held at the premises of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC). The meeting was attended by the IRMCT Secretary-General, Olufemi Elias, and his associates, and by representatives of the HLC, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights and the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights. Participants in the meeting discussed the continuation of the cooperation as regards the transfer of facts established by the courts in The Hague, which were responsible for helping to punish violations of international humanitarian law during the armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. The need for a new and more active approach to the younger generations, the importance of their receiving continuous information and education on events from the recent past, the need to overcome the social climate of denial of crimes and denial of responsibility, and a vigorous advocacy for removing impunity for war crimes, were emphasized.
Representatives of the IRMCT visited the library and archive of the HLC, and were informed in more detail about the transfer of the publicly accessible archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which the HLC has been carrying out for almost 15 years.
On January 29, 2019, Professor Zdravko Grebo, a long-time friend, associate and member of the HLC Executive Board, passed away in Sarajevo. Always perspicacious, amusing and charming, ever ready to share an anecdote from his life regarding almost any topic, he had a proposal for a solution to the challenges we might be facing. Until the very end of his life, he consistently and firmly advocated for establishing the truth and responsibility for the crimes committed during the wars in the territory of the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. The passing of Professor Grebo is a great loss for all sincere advocates of a civil society, but his works remain, for all his admirers to be proud of. We will remember him and keep him in our memories always.
On Thursday, January 31, 2019, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) will present its eleventh dossier, entitled “Crimes against Croats in Vojvodina” (Dossier). The presentation will take place in the Great Hall of the Media Center in Belgrade (Terazije 3, II floor) at 12:00.
During the period 1991-1995, in the territory of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, there was a campaign of intimidation and pressure on Croatian civilians with the aim of forcing them to leave their homes, and Serbia as well. Vojislav Šešelj and his Serbian Radical Party were the main advocates and inspirers of this campaign. Violence against Croats in Vojvodina included attacks on their private property and religious buildings, as well as threats, physical attacks and murders, and resulted in the expulsion of several thousands of Croats from Vojvodina.
This intimidation campaign took place with the awareness and tacit approval of the political structures of the Republic of Serbia. The evidence presented in this Dossier shows that in some acts of violence against Croats, the persons from the State Security Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia also took part.
Simultaneous interpretation into English will be provided
Sorry, this entry is only available in srpski.
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.
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.
On 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.
Simultaneous interpretation into English will be provided.
On 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.