Third Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes
The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) has been monitoring and providing support to war crimes trials ever since the first war crimes proceedings conducted in Serbia in 2002. The HLC is the only organization that has been continuously monitoring and analysing war crimes trials in Serbia and informing the public at home and abroad about them. It has been representing victims (injured parties) in war crimes cases through an Attorney, filing criminal complaints with the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutors (OWCP) against suspected perpetrators, and sharing its documentation on war crimes. Also, the HLC has been identifying witnesses and victims and encouraging them to give evidence in court and thus contribute towards achieving justice for past crimes.
The National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes (hereinafter: the National Strategy) was adopted in February 2016. The HLC is the only non-governmental organisation that monitors and reports on its implementation with a view to assisting in a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the state of implementation of the measures and activities set forth in the National Strategy.
The present report is the third HLC report on the implementation of the National Strategy. It covers the period from 1 June to 1 December 2018. Comprehensive assessments of the State’s implementation of the National Strategy during the previous 12 months are provided in the HLC’s Initial Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes and the Second Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes.
As shown in the report, no progress in war crimes prosecutions can be reported in the 33 months since the adoption of the National Strategy. The implementation of the National Strategy continues to be severely delayed, and at least 12 of the 15 indictments that have been issued since the adoption of the National Strategy were not the result of the OWCP’s investigation but transferred to the OWCP from BiH. War crimes trials continue to be unreasonably protracted, the procedural rights of victims have not been strengthened, the number of missing persons is decreasing at a slower pace than foreseen in the National Strategy, cooperation with the ICTY/MICT is being impeded owing to the decision of the Higher Court in Belgrade not to hand over to the ICTY/MICT members of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) charged with contempt of court, but also to the increasing attempts to re-interpret and deny the facts established during judicial processes conducted before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Third Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes is available here.