Jović: The war in Yugoslavia was a war against minorities

Jović: The war in Yugoslavia was a war against minorities

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On June 15, 2018, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) presented its tenth Dossier: “The JNA in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina“. As the most extensive so far, this Dossier has been covering the period from the end of the 1980s up to May 1992. It explores how the JNA and the political leadership of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) and of Serbia prepared for the wars, the JNA’s involvement in the conflicts, and its contribution to achieving the wartime goals of Serbia, the Republic of Serbian Krajina and Republika Srpska.

Nemanja Stjepanović from the HLC said that the goal of the Dossier was to point to the crimes committed during the armed conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to the responsibility of the perpetrators and initiators, as well as to place these events in a wider historical context for a better understanding of them. The Dossier illuminates the process of the restructuration of the JNA from the Yugoslav into the Serbian army, its transformation as the focus of its activities changed, the alterations of national structures within the JNA, and, finally, the partiality it showed in dedicating itself to the goal of “defending the Serb people”. A survey the HLC conducted, presented within this Dossier, showed that “defence” was reduced exclusively to the conquest of the territory.

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Dossier: The JNA in the Wars in Croatia and BiH

Dossier: The JNA in the Wars in Croatia and BiH

JNA_u_ratovima-enThe role of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and its transformation from the Yugoslav into the Serbian army, is the subject of this, the tenth Dossier of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC). It is the most extensive of the HLC Dossiers so far, covering the period from the end of the 1980s up to May 1992. It explores how the JNA and political leadership of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) and Serbia prepared for the wars, the JNA’s involvement in the conflicts, and its contribution to achieving the wartime goals of Serbia, the Republic of Serbian Krajina and Republika Srpska.

The introduction section of the Dossier presents facts about the development of the crisis in the former Yugoslavia and the steps undertaken by the leadership of the Republic of Serbia, headed by Slobodan Milosevic, to take control of the JNA, with a view to using it for achieving their own wartime goals. After that, the Dossier presents the role of the JNA in the war in Croatia, and in the BiH.

In each of the examples given of the JNA’s military involvement in Croatia and BiH, the pattern of attacks is described and the JNA units that took part in them are listed. Also, evidence on the identity of the perpetrators of crimes committed during the attacks, whether they were JNA members or members of Serb formations who participated in the actions alongside the JNA, is presented.

The Dossier also presents evidence on the JNA’s role in arming Serb formations in Croatia and BiH in the lead-up to the conflicts, and on the assistance and support it provided to Serb militaries in Croatia and BIH after having formally withdrawn from these republics.

Some of the examples given, which are substantiated by military documents, make clear that after a decision was issued on JNA’s formal withdrawal from BiH in May 1992, its units  remaining behind in BiH were simply renamed, to become units of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS). The VRS retained the command structure of the JNA and its manpower, and took possession of its weaponry. This gave the newly established army of the Bosnian Serbs a head start over all other armed formations in BiH.

The Dossier: The JNA in the Wars in Croatia and BiH is available here.

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Dossier: “Deportation of Srebrenica Refugees”

Dossier: “Deportation of Srebrenica Refugees”

Dosije_Deportacije-logo-enAfter the fall of Srebrenica on 11 July, 1995, an estimated 7,905 persons disappeared, mostly men considered by the Army of Republika Srpska as “able-bodied”.  DNA analysis of the mortal remains of those found in mass graves, to date, has enabled positive identification of 5,977 persons killed in Srebrenica.

Most of these men were killed between 13 and 16 July 1995, in mass executions at several locations. A day before the fall of the enclave, between ten and sixteen thousand men fled into the forests around Srebrenica, intending to reach the “liberated territory” under the control of the Army of BiH. The search for, capture and killing of these men continued for weeks after the fall of Srebrenica.

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“General Diković and 37th Brigade in Kosovo” Film

“General Diković and 37th Brigade in Kosovo” Film

Dosije_Dikovic-thumb-enApproximately 1,400 civilians were killed in the area of responsibility of the 37th Brigade of the Yugoslav Army in Kosovo in 1999. The mortal remains of a number of victims were discovered in mass graves in Serbia. The present Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Army, Ljubiša Diković, was the Commander of the Brigade at this time. Neither he nor any members of his unit have been held accountable for these crimes.

 The evidence showing the presence and the role of the Yugoslav Army in the mass killings of civilians in Izbica, Čirez, Savarine, Rezala and other villages in the Drenica region is presented in the film titled “Ljubiša Diković and the 37th Brigade in Kosovo”, made by the Humanitarian Law Center. This evidence has already been presented in the “Ljubiša Diković” and “Rudnica” Dossiers.

 A number of TV services in Serbia, including the public broadcasters Radio and Television of Serbia and Radio and Television of Vojvodina, have refused or have not responded to the request that they screen the film. For this reason, the film will be posted on the HLC’s webpage and youtube channel on Tuesday, February 21st at 11:00 a.m.

 

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Unpunished Concealment of more than 900 Bodies in Mass Graves in Serbia

Unpunished Concealment of more than 900 Bodies in Mass Graves in Serbia

Predstavljanje_dosijea_skrivanje_telaOn Tuesday, January 31st, 2017, the HLC presented its eighth dossier in a row about unprosecuted crimes and possiblel perpetrators. The Dossier “The cover-up of evidence of crimes during the war in Kosovo: Concealment of Bodies Operation” shows how the operation of concealing the bodies of Albanians killed during the war in Kosovo in 1999 was planned and executed, and which civilian, military and police institutions were involved in it. The objective of the Dossier is to point to the perpetrators of the concealment of one of the most serious crimes in Kosovo, to enable the citizens of Serbia to hear about the crimes committed in their name, and to encourage witnesses to come out with their knowledge about these events and help the search for the more than a thousand bodies of Albanian civilians who were killed during the conflict in Kosovo and who are still reported as missing.



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Dossier: “The cover-up of evidence of crimes during the war in Kosovo: THE CONCEALMENT OF BODIES OPERATION”

Dossier: “The cover-up of evidence of crimes during the war in Kosovo: THE CONCEALMENT OF BODIES OPERATION”

UklanjanjeDokaza-enSince 2001, mass graves containing the bodies of 941 Kosovo Albanians, mainly civilians killed outside combat situations in Kosovo during 1999, have been found on four locations in Serbia. 744 bodies of Kosovo Albanians have been discovered in Batajnica, on the outskirts of Belgrade, at least 61 in Petrovo Selo, and 84 at Lake Perućac. At least 52 bodies have been subsequently found in the mass grave at Rudnica.

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Torture in Camps in Serbia Still Unpunished

Torture in Camps in Serbia Still Unpunished

Tortura_u_logorima_u_SrbijiOn December 22nd, 2016, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) presented its sixth dossier in a row on possible perpetrators of war crimes committed during the armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. The “Šljivovica and Mitrovo Polje” Dossier presents evidence on the treatment of Bosniaks, who sought shelter in Serbia following the fall of Žepa in late July 1995, and on the responsibility of members of the Yugoslav Army (VJ) and the Serbian Ministry of the Interior (MUP) for the crimes committed against the arrested and detained Bosniaks during their stay in Serbia. The Dossier is founded on statements given by surviving detainees, authentic documents of the Republic of Srpska Army, and military and police documents, which were admitted as evidence in a number of cases conducted before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), as well as on statements given by representatives of Serbian army and police and members of the international community, before the ICTY, the International Court of Justice and the First Basic Court in Belgrade.

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Dossier „Šljivovica and Mitrovo Polje“

Dossier „Šljivovica and Mitrovo Polje“

Dosije-SljivovicaIMitrovoPolje-enAfter capturing Žepa in late July 1995 approximately 800 Bosniaks from Žepa crossed the River Drina and entered the territory of the Republic of Serbia, frightened for their lives after rumours had spread of the crimes committed by the Army of Republika Srpska in Srebrenica. Most of them were members of the Army of BiH, but there were also civilians, including dozens of underage boys. Almost immediately after crossing, the men were taken captive by border guards of the Yugoslav Army and members of Special Police Units.

After registration and interrogation, accompanied by ill-treatment, all detainees were taken to the Šljivovica camp in Braneško Polje, near Čajetina. As there was no room in Šljivovica for such a large number of people, a group of detainees was transferred to another camp, located in Mitrovo Polje (Aleksandrovac municipality). In both camps, detainees were subjected to torture, sexual violence, inhumane treatment, humiliation and starvation, and were robbed of their possessions. Three detainees died as a result of the torture.

The Mitrovo Polje camp was closed in February 1996. The camp in Šljivovica was closed in April 1996, when the last remaining detainees were freed.

To date, no one has been called to account for the torture, abuse and deaths of Žepa male detainees in the camps in Serbia. Although the names are known of the inspectors and guards who were in the camps, no proceedings have ever been brought before any domestic court to establish the criminal responsibility of these individuals for acting contrary to domestic and international law. Neither the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia nor the International Court of Justice has addressed the torture of the Bosniaks in Serbian camps, although both courts were presented with evidence concerning these crimes.

The dossier „Šljivovica and Mitrovo Polje“ is available here.

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“Operation Reka“ Dossier Presented

“Operation Reka“ Dossier Presented

Logo_FHP The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) presented the „Operation Reka“ Dossier on October 23rd, 2015. The Dossier offers an overview of the events which occurred on April 27th and 28th, 1999, in the villages located west of the town of Đakovica in Kosovo, when the comprehensive joint operation by Yugoslav Army (VJ) and the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) called „Operation Reka“ was launched. During this Operation, members of the Serbian forces killed at least 350 civilians – Kosovo Albanians, and deported several thousand other civilians to Albania. The bodies of 309 victims were found in 2001 in secret mass grave sites in a suburb of Belgrade. The youngest victim was 15 years old.

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