Call for Verification of Allegations on Responsibility of Diković for War Crimes

Civil society organizations are calling on the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor to verify the allegations of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) relating to the possible responsibility of the Serbian Army  Chief of Staff, Ljubiša Diković, for war crimes committed in Kosovo and BiH.

Since the moment when HLC publicly disclosed information about Diković, respective institutions and the Minister of Defence, Dragan Šutanovac, have been trying to defend the newly appointed Chief of Staff and to attack human rights organizations, instead of conducting a proper investigation into the allegations made by HLC.

HLC did not write an indictment or a judgment in its documents, but it rather publicly stated information, which is accessible to public and which requires respective institutions to make a serious legal consideration of this information. Any decision made by institutions, even the possible finding of guilt of any individual, is not and must never be interpreted as an attack against the state or institutions. Moreover, a thorough investigation and decisions based on facts would bring about the strengthening of institutions and the rule of law in Serbia.

The statement made by the Minister of Defence, Dragan Šutanovac, by which human rights defenders are compared to extremist organizations, such as “Obraz” and “SNP 1389”, is dangerous from the perspective of the protection of human rights and the rule of law in Serbia, just as are his statements given during the interview on “Peščanik” in which he said that “such things must not be published” and that  “this Government has dealt with crimes committed by completing its cooperation with the ICTY”.

Human rights organizations strongly support the triggering of the question of war crimes committed in Kosovo in public and they call for the Minister Šutanovac to support the public disclosure of facts, which can reveal the truth about war crimes and instigate the prosecution of responsible individuals.

And finally, we would like to emphasize that it is in the best interest of the general public to have allegations on the responsibility of all persons appointed to such responsible positions, inspected and to have the discussion regarding each appointment lead to the government, which bears responsibility towards the citizens.

Press release signed by:

Sandžak Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms
Youth Initiative for Human Rights
Independent Journalist’s Association of Vojvodina
Civil Rights Defenders
Centre for Advance Legal Studies
Organization for Lesbian Human Rights– Labris
CHRIS – Network of committees for human rights
Women in Black

Regional Centre for Minorities

House of human rights and democracy comprising:

Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia
Civil Initiatives
Belgrade Centre for Human Rights
Policy Centre  and
Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM