REPORT ON WAR CRIMES TRIALS IN SERBIA DURING 2023

REPORT ON WAR CRIMES TRIALS IN SERBIA DURING 2023

Online razgovor SLIKA EN - 32The HLC has monitored all war crimes trials conducted in the territory of Serbia in 2023, namely a total of 27 cases conducted before the War Crimes Departments of the Higher Court and the Court of Appeal in Belgrade. For each of the cases, the Report provides an overview of the proceedings and the HLC’s basic findings which are of public relevance. A large number of the war crimes cases covered by this Report have been ongoing for a several years, hence the previous HLC’s annual trial reports are also relevant for a full grasp of the course of the proceedings and the pertinent HLC findings.

The report focuses on the work of the Public Prosecutor’s Office for War Crimes (POWCP) and of the courts in those parts of the judicial proceedings open to the public, primarily by analysing the indictments and the judgments in each case. An analysis of the work of other bodies involved in the prosecution of war crimes – the War Crimes Investigation Service of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior (MUP), the Witness Protection Unit and others, cannot be undertaken in respect of the individual cases, as no information on their activities is publicly available.

In the reporting period, the War Crimes Department of the Higher Court in Belgrade issued one first-instance verdict. The War Crimes Department of the Court of Appeal in Belgrade issued five verdicts that concluded the proceedings with final force and effect, and two decisions that annulled the first-instance verdicts and remanded the cases for retrial. In the reporting period, the POWCP, as it states, filed three indictments against seven persons, two of which are still in the examination phase before the competent court. During 2023, one proceeding was conducted in absentia. Further, in 2023 we saw the continuation of failure to execute the verdict of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, dating from 2014, by which Novak Đukić was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. As from 2018, when it was determined by an expert that Đukić was not competent to stand trial, the expert opinion has been presented every 12 months, and every time the expert opinion has been the same.

At the time of writing this Report, there are 17 convicts serving prison sentences, while one convict, Rajko Kozlina, is at large.

Based on requests submitted by BiH, four court decisions, referring to four persons, were recognised before the War Crimes Department of the High Court in Belgrade during 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Below is the overview of general findings on war crimes trials in 2023, and of important socio-political developments which are of relevance for war crimes trials. The details regarding the proceedings and HLC’s analysis of each individual case are provided in the full version of this report.

REPORT ON WAR CRIMES TRIALS IN SERBIA DURING 2023 – INTRODUCTION AND GENERAL FINDINGS

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