UN Special Rapporteur on Transitional Justice invited to visit Serbia
On 12th March 2014, the Coalition for Access to Justice invited Pablo de Greiff, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, to visit Serbia, in order to make recommendations to the Government of Serbia regarding the measures which will help achieve justice for victims of crimes and other gross human rights violations committed during the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia.
The opening of the EU accession talks with Serbia, in particular the negotiations under Chapters 23 and 24 (judiciary and fundamental rights, and justice, freedom and security), provide a historic opportunity for Serbia to undertake comprehensive and concrete steps towards implementing transitional justice mechanisms aimed at addressing the grave legacy of the wars of the 1990s. Numerous challenges, such as the paucity of war crimes trials, the impunity enjoyed by high-ranking army and police officers, the absence of a vetting process in security sector agencies, the laws that discriminate against war victims, and the absence of reparation mechanisms for victims, seriously undermine the prospects for transitional justice in Serbia and also the process of reconciliation in the region.
The Coalition for Access to Justice believes that the visit by the UN Special Rapporteur and his subsequent recommendations would provide a valuable guideline for Serbian and EU institutions on how to put in place an institutional framework which will promote the rights of victims and the society in respect to the legacy of crimes.
The following organisations are the members of the Coalition for Access to Justice: Humanitarian Law Center, Center for Advanced Legal Studies, Civil Rights Defenders, CHRIS – Network of the Committees for Human Rights in Serbia, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Sandzak Committee for Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms, Praxis and Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina, and Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia.