REPORT ON WAR CRIMES TRIALS IN SERBIA DURING 2022

REPORT ON WAR CRIMES TRIALS IN SERBIA DURING 2022

23-korice-enThe HLC has monitored all war crimes trials conducted in the territory of Serbia in 2022, namely a total of 25 cases conducted before the War Crimes Departments of the Higher Court and/or the Court of Appeal in Belgrade.

The Report provides a brief overview of the proceedings and of the HLC’s basic findings in respect of cases 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 annual trial reports are also relevant for a full grasp of the course of the proceedings and the pertinent HLC findings.

The report focuses on the work of the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP) and of the courts in parts of the judicial proceedings open to the public, primarily by analysing the indictments and the 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, cannot not be undertaken in respect of the individual cases, as no information on their activities is publicly available.


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Dossier: “Serbian Volunteer Guard”

Dossier: “Serbian Volunteer Guard”

Dosije-DG-enThe crimes committed by the Serbian Volunteer Guard (SDG/the Guard), a group formed by Željko Ražnatović (Arkan), and its links with the Serbian police, military and political establishment, were an integral part of the indictments of the ICTY’s Office of the Prosecutor against Slobodan Milošević, Goran Hadžić, Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović.

The trials of Milošević and Hadžić were terminated because they had died before the judgments were passed, but witness statements and evidence presented during the trials contain a wealth of materials about the activities of the SDG. In addition, the ICTY’s Office of the Prosecutor filed an indictment against SDG commander Željko Ražnatović aka Arkan for crimes committed in the area of Sanski Most. In the trial judgment following the retrial of Stanišić and Simatović, the Trial Chamber of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT) established that the SDG was involved in murders, persecution and forced displacement in the area of the so-called Serbian Autonomous Region of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem (SAO SBZS) in 1991 and 1992, in Bijeljina and Zvornik in 1992, and in Sanski Most in 1995. Nevertheless, not a single member of the SDG has been prosecuted for these crimes to date.


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Report on War Crimes Trials in Serbia during 2021

Report on War Crimes Trials in Serbia during 2021

Izvestaj-enThe Report includes an analysis of 26 cases monitored by the HLC before the war crimes departments of the Higher Court and the Court of Appeals in Belgrade. Also, the Report contains an overview of the general findings on war crimes trials during 2021, as well as important socio-political events that are vital for war crimes trials in Serbia.

The report is available here

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Dossier: VRS 43rd Motorised Brigade in Prijedor

Dossier: VRS 43rd Motorised Brigade in Prijedor

43mb-enBetween May and August 1992, units of the 1st Krajina Corps of the Army of the Republika Srpska (VRS), together with the police of the Republika Srpska, Territorial Defence Force (TO) units and various volunteer groups, carried out attacks on a large number villages in the municipality of Prijedor inhabited predominantly by Bosniaks and Croats.

In the documents of the VRS and the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) of the Republika Srpska, combat operations in the Prijedor municipality were referred to as “cleansing operations” and actions aimed to crush extremist groups. However, as established in several judgments of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), these operations involved the systematic killings, abuses, arrests and detention of non-Serbs, as well as the destruction and looting of their property.

More than 3,000 civilians died in the territory of Prijedor municipality in 1992, and around 38,000 Bosniaks and Croats left the municipality before the second half of October of 1992.


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Report on War Crimes Trials in Serbia during 2020

Report on War Crimes Trials in Serbia during 2020

GI-slika-engThe HLC has monitored all war crimes trials conducted in the territory of Serbia in 2020, namely a total of 21 cases conducted before the War Crimes Departments of the Higher Court and/or the Court of Appeal in Belgrade.

The Report provides a brief overview of the proceedings and of the HLC’s basic findings in respect of cases 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 annual trial reports are also relevant for a full grasp of the course of the proceedings and the pertinent HLC findings.


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DOSSIER: Camps for Croats in Serbia

DOSSIER: Camps for Croats in Serbia

Dosije-logori-thumb-enOn November 18, 1991, after a three-month siege of the city, the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army (JNA) took over Vukovar with the assistance of the Serbian Territorial Defence Forces (TO) and military volunteer units. Upon occupying the city, a large number of members of the Croatian forces, as well as civilians, were captured by the JNA, including the wounded, women, minors and elderly people.

The JNA transferred those captured persons to the territory of Vojvodina, where already in September 1991 several camps for prisoners of war from the territory of Croatia had been established.

According to research conducted by the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), the largest camp set up in Serbia was at the Sremska Mitrovica Penal Correctional Facility (KPD). In addition to this camp, there were camps in the Banat villages of Begejci and Stajićevo, the JNA barracks in Aleksinac and the Niš Penal Correctional Facility. In Serbia, there were also smaller “transit” camps and centres, where detainees stayed for several days before being transferred to some of the larger camps. Although there were more such camps, in this Dossier we have identified the facilities in Šid, a military police training centre in Bubanj Potok and a JNA barracks in Paragovo.


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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.


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Dossier: Forcible Mobilisation of Refugees

Dossier: Forcible Mobilisation of Refugees

Dosije-PrisilnaMobilizacija-srFrom the outbreak of war in Croatia and BiH, and especially in connection with the Croatian military-police operations “Flash” and “Storm”, about 500,000 Serbs, citizens of Croatia and BiH, fled to Serbia. Tens of thousands of Serbs from Croatia fled to Serbia during 1991 and 1992. They mostly exchanged their houses and property with Croats from Vojvodina, who, under pressure from the Serbian Radical Party and paramilitary groups, left Serbia. At least 200,000 people fled Croatia from May until the end of August 1995, during and after the “Flash” and “Storm” operations of the Croatian Army and the MUP. Most of the refugees were accommodated in reception centres across Serbia, in old hotels, unused public facilities, or with relatives and friends, and only a few were able to rent an apartment.


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

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

Izvestaj-Strategija-IV_korice_eng1The 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. HLC has been filing criminal complaints against suspected perpetrators and sharing its documentation on war crimes with the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutors (OWCP). Also, the HLC has been identifying witnesses and victims and encouraging them to give evidence in court and thus contribute to achieving justice for past crimes.


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Report on War Crimes Trials in Serbia

Report on War Crimes Trials in Serbia

izvestaj_o_SZRZ-2019-enThis is the seventh report of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) on war crimes trials in Serbia. The HLC has monitored all war crimes trials conducted in the territory of Serbia during 2017 and 2018, a total of 20 trials, conducted by the War Crimes Departments of the Higher Court in Belgrade or the Court of Appeal in Belgrade, including one trial conducted by a court of general jurisdiction. A brief overview of all cases observed, and the HLC’s key findings on each case of interest to the public, are provided in the Report.

A significant portion of the war crimes proceedings presented in the Report have been ongoing for a number of years. Therefore the previous annual HLC Reports on war crimes trials may also be consulted for full appreciation of the course of the proceedings and the corresponding findings. The Report also includes a trial for a criminal offence that the competent prosecutor’s office of general jurisdiction did not classify as a war crime, despite all the circumstances of the case indicating otherwise.

The Report focuses particularly on the work of the War Crimes Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP) and of the courts (in the parts of the proceedings which are open to the public), and analyses the indictments and judgments in each individual case. An analysis of the work of other institutions involved in war crimes prosecution (the War Crimes Investigation Service of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, the Witness Protection Unit, et al.) could not be made within the context of each case because of the lack of publicly available information about their work.

The War Crimes Department of the Higher Court in Belgrade handed down first-instance judgments in three cases over the reporting period. The War Crimes Department of the Court of Appeal in Belgrade handed down four rulings on appeals against judgments passed by the Higher Court in Belgrade. One interim judgment was handed down by a court of general jurisdiction, and was subsequently confirmed by the Court of Appeal. The OWCP issued a total of 14 indictments over the reporting period, three in 2017 (against four individuals), and 11 in 2018 (against 15 individuals), as indicated in the information supplied to the HLC by the OWCP.

The Report on War Crimes Trials in Serbia is available here.

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