Natasa Kandic: Courts rule on politicians’ orders


Source: B92
Belgrade – Responding to a slander charge filed against her by the Chief of the General Staff, the Director of the Humanitarian Law Center, Natasa Kandic, says the lawsuit was expected and its nature is political. According to Kandic, the lawsuit against her is a consequence of this particular political moment in which no one wants to investigate the responsibility of individual generals for war crimes. In such context, the chapter on war crimes obviously closes with those who have been convicted so far.
“I actually expected the lawsuit to be filed even earlier, but it seems they needed more time to prepare what both the Prosecution and Minister Sutanovac spoke of with such ease,” said for B92 the Director of the Humanitarian Law Center.
When asked what would happen with the lawsuit which the HLC filed against Ljubisa Dikovic, the Chief of the General Staff of Serbia (the lawsuit had been submitted to the First Instance Court in Belgrade, and is based on the seven counts from the Dikovic File, the latter having been published in late January by the HLC), Kandic says she does not expect anything to happen, because the courts rule on behalf of politicians.

The spokesperson of the First Instance Court in Belgrade, Ivana Ramic, confirmed for B92 that Kandic’s lawsuit has been submitted to that court. 

“The fate of that lawsuit has already been sealed by what Minister Sutanovac said. He said, quite in advance, that the court would determine the File’s falsity. In other words, the court would determine that the data listed in the File did not match the facts. He obviously knew in advance what the facts were, and what the court would rule. So I personally expect that in this particular case the court, as Sutanovac stated, would confirm what one politician said before any facts have been examined,” said Kandic.

But she adds: “Some day a different political moment will come, when Minister Sutanovac’s words will be discussed in a different way. Then the question of the File will be reopened in the context of the facts presented in it by the HLC.”
Kandic said that the opinion of the War Crimes Prosecution, according to which HLC’s charges against General Dikovic contain no elements that imply his responsibility for war crimes, is clearly a political decision.

“I think it is quite sufficient to assess the conclusion of the War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office in the context of the fact that they managed to produce this conclusion overnight, while it takes them many years to complete some investigations or to issue indictments. Even the Prosecutor Vukcevic said: ‘We have checked, as we were asked to.’ It is quite clear who asked them to check and what. Politicians requested that the War Crimes Prosecution confirm what they wanted – that no data existed that would imply criminal or political responsibility of General Dikovic,” she said.
“The response issued by the War Crimes Prosecution testifies quite strongly about this particular political moment. Our institutions contribute to political interpretations of how to deal with accountability for war crimes,” concluded the Director of the Humanitarian Law Center.