Truth Commission Activists Plan Yugoslav ‘Book of the Dead’

Truth Commission Activists Plan Yugoslav ‘Book of the Dead’
BalkanInsight_logoThe Coalition for RECOM, which is campaigning to establish a regional truth commission for the Yugoslav wars, is working to create the first full list of all those killed in the Balkan conflicts from 1991 to 2001.


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Serbia: A Year of Denying War Crimes

Serbia: A Year of Denying War Crimes
BalkanInsight_logoWar criminals were celebrated, verdicts convicting Serbs were questioned and atrocities were denied, while Serbian prosecutors again failed in 2019 to indict any high-ranking suspects for crimes committed in the 1990s conflicts.

On May 9, retired Yugoslav Army general Vladimir Lazarevic, a convicted war criminal, headed a World War II Victory Day parade through the streets of the southern Serbian city of Nis. The showpiece event was organised by Russian war veterans with the backing of the Serbian authorities.

Lazarevic’s prominent role in the parade highlighted how in 2019, Serbian officials continued their practice of celebrating war criminals as military heroes.


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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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