Facts established in the Perišić Case constitute the point of departure for re-examining Serbia’s role in wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina
Momčilo Perišić: “We cannot cast Ratko and the others aside – they are demanding extremely expensive ammunition to strike targets on the ground. Why? Because it is very efficient […]“ Steno-notes of the 17th Supreme Defence Council session, held on 10 January 1994, page 56
On February 22nd, 2013, the Higher Court in Belgrade rendered a judgment of conviction against seven members of the unit by name of “Sima’s Chetniks”, who were charged with the commission of a war crime against the civilian population in the village of Skočić (Municipality of Zvornik, BiH), for which they were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. Zoran Đurđević and Zoran Stojanović were sentenced to 20 years in prison each, Zoran Alić and Tomislav Gavrić were sentenced to 10 years each, Dragana Đekić and Đorđe Šević were sentenced to five years each, and Damir Bogdanović was sentenced to two years in prison. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) thinks that this was a fair trial, conducted in accordance with the law; but the sentence below the legal minimum which was imposed on Damir Bogdanović was inappropriate, considering the cruelty of the crime committed in Skočić. The trial itself was marked by the brave testimonies given by the Roma children, who survived the crimes in Skočić.
The Higher Court in Belgrade trial chamber rendered a judgment on February 22nd, 2013 convicting members of the “Sima’s Chetniks” paramilitary group, because of war crimes against a civilian population, committed against a group of Roma in 1992 in the vicinity of Zvornik. Zoran Stojanović and Zoran Đurđević from Šabac were sentenced to twenty years of imprisonment each, Zoran Alić and Tomislav Gavrić were sentenced to ten years of imprisonment each, Dragana Đekić and Đorđe Šević were sentenced to five years of imprisonment each, and Damir Bogdanović was sentenced to two years of imprisonment. Zoran Alić was released from detention, but confined to his place of residence.
On the occasion of the acquittal by the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the partial re-trial in Haradinaj et al, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) holds that neither the initial trial nor the partial re-trial in this case have brought justice to the victims of the crimes listed in the indictments. In addition, this procedure has been particularly burdened by a number of deficiencies with regard to witness protection and lack of professionalism of investigators in gathering evidence.
On November 19, 2012, the War Crimes Chamber of the Higher Court in Belgrade, with the Trial Panel presided over by Judge Vinka Beraha-Nikicevic, sentenced Marko Kashnjeti to two years in prison for a war crime against the civilian population. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) holds that the evidence on which the judgment is based is seriously flawed and insufficient for a finding of Kashnjeti’s liability.
On September 19th, 2012, a trial chamber at the Higher Court in Belgrade – War Crimes Department, presided over by Judge Snežana Nikolić-Garotić, rendered a guilty verdict sentencing Samet Hajdari to 15 years of imprisonment, Ahmet and Nazif Hasani to 13 years each, Agush Memishi, Burim Fazliu, and Selimon Sadiku to 12 years each, Faton Hajdari to 10 years, Kamber Sahiti, Ferat Hajdari, and Sadik Aliu to 8 years each, and Shefqet Musliu to 5 years of imprisonment. They were found guilty of committing a criminal act of war crime against the civilian population, as defined by Article 142 Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code of Yugoslavia, in Gnjilane/Gjilan during the period June 17th-23rd, 1999, against protected witnesses C1 and C2, whom they tortured, beat and raped. The accused were acquitted, due to a lack of evidence, of charges of torture and killing of as yet unidentified victims and of the mutilation and incineration of bodies. Fazli Ajdari, Rexhep Aliu, Shaqir Shaqiri, Shefqet Musliu, Sadik Aliu, Idriz Aliu, Shemsij Nuhium, Ramadan Halimi, and Ferat Hajdari were acquitted of all charges due to the lack of evidence.
On June 26, 2012 the Trial Panel of the Higher Court in Belgrade – War Crimes Department, presided over by judge Olivera Andjelkovic, delivered its judgment on fourteen defendants, convicted for having ordered or carried out an attack on Croat civilians in the village of Lovas, in the Republic of Croatia, during October and November 1991. The fourteen were convicted for having committed crimes of inhuman treatment, torture, violation of bodily integrity (beating, wounding or causing serious bodily harm) and murder, which resulted in the killing of 40 and the wounding of 11 Croat civilians.
On June 19th, 2012, the trial chamber of the Higher Court in Belgrade – War Crimes Department, presided over by Judge Dragan Mirković, convicted four persons indicted for the commission of war crimes against Croat civilians in the Beli Manastir municipality between August 1991 and later the same year. Zoran Vukšić was sentenced to 20 years in prison Slobodan Strigić to 10 years, Bransko Hrnjak to 5 years and Velimir Bertić to 1 year and 6 months.