Ethnic Communities in Kosovo 2003 and 2004

During the course of 2003, Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) investigators visited all the settlements in Kosovo inhabited by persons belonging to ethnic minorities and interviewed 497 Serbs, Montenegrins, Roma, Bosniaks, Turks, Gorani, Egyptians, Ashkali, and Albanians. They paid special attention to the returnees. The investigators discussed with the interviewees the matters of security, freedom of movement, access to administrative and judicial authorities, access to health and social welfare services, employment, education, access to property, participation in political life, and return. The data they gathered indicate some improvement in 2003 regarding the freedom of movement and the return of refugees. This is a major step forward compared with the preceding period when Serbs in particular ran the risk of losing their lives outside their settlements.


Romi u Srbiji

Sorry, this entry is only available in srpski.


Operation Flash The Ethnic Cleansing of Western Slavonia 1 May 1995

This report is based on statements given to the Humanitarian Law Center in June and July 1995, in Eastern Slavonia, by Croatian Serbs expelled from Western Slavonia.


Written Comments of the Humanitarian Law Center concerning FR Yugoslavia

Aware of the measures taken by state agencies since the change of government in October 2000, the Humanitarian Law Center (“HLC”) nonetheless considers them inadequate to ensure effective application in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“Convention”), in particular its Articles 2, 4, 11, 12, 13, and 14. The HLC believes that the 27th session of the Committee against Torture will help to identify the most important problems in the observance of the Convention in this country, which still give rise to serious concern.


Police Crackdown on Otpor – Serbia, 2 May to 24 September 2000

Otpor (Resistance) was initiated as a student movement in October 1998 by a group of Belgrade University students dissatisfied with the work of existing academic organizations and the failure of protests against Serbia’s repressive University Law.

The movement gained support at other universities in Serbia and its activists began publicly to put forward the demand for democratic changes summed up as ‘free and fair elections, a free and depoliticized University, and a free and independent media’. The movement spread rapidly to many cities and towns in Serbia. Comprising small groups of students at first, Otpor grew into a mass movement of political opponents to the government. Otpor’s symbol, a clenched fist, came to be recognized among the citizens as a symbol of personal courage and determination to install democratic values in Serbia. The Serbian government responded first by launching a media campaign portraying Otpor as an enemy organization, then by mounting a sweeping police action against its activists in May 2000. The election campaign in Serbia took place amid daily detention of Otpor activists.

Between the beginning of May and the middle of September 2000, the police arrested more than 2,000 Otpor activists, some 400 members of opposition political parties and about 100 activists of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). An investigation by the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), comprising interviews with victims of unlawful police actions and written evidence, shows that the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP) launched early in May a broad campaign against young people in Serbia in general and against Otpor activists in particular. The majority of detained people were up to twenty-five years of age, including some 200 between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. Some 300 Otpor activists were detained five or more times. On a number of separate occasions the police also detained thirty mothers who had taken part in Otpor actions. An analysis indicates that the police were employed in an organized and synchronized action with clear orders, instructions and objectives. Although the action was carried out throughout Serbia, its focus was clearly in Vojvodina. The uniform procedure employed in all the cases shows that the policemen acted on specific orders, deliberately and grossly violating the law and the Constitution. The determination with which members of the police force broke the law bore out their conviction that they would be exempted from any disciplinary or criminal action.

Full report Police Crackdown on Otpor – Serbia, 2 May to 24 September 2000


Otpor – Analysis

OTPOR Movement was founded in 1998 and later it evolved into a mass youth movement against Slobodan Milošević’s regime. During 1999 and 2000, members of the Serbian Ministry of Interior unlawfully detained for interrogation more than 2,000 members of OTPOR, during which they were often tortured.


Abductions and Disappearances of non-Albanians in Kosovo

At least 932 non-Albanians disappeared  or were abducted  in the period from the deployment of the international peacekeeping force (KFOR) in Kosovo on 12 June 1999 up to 31 December 2000. Field research by the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) brought out that Serbs, Roma, Montenegrins and Bosniacs went missing on a daily basis from 12 June to 1 September 1999, in which period 835 non-Albanians were abducted or disappeared. The whereabouts of 593 remain unknown. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) released 141 persons, 24 were able to escape from KLA prisons, 13 were set free by KFOR, and 62 were killed after being abducted.