The Humanitarian Law Center supports post-Yugoslav societies in the promotion of the rule of law and acceptance of the legacy of mass human rights violations, and therefore in establishing the criminal responsibility of the perpetrators, serving justice, and preventing recurrence.
The Transitional Justice programme HLC implements within the following programme units:
- Justice and Institutional Reform
The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) was established in 1992 by human rights activist Natasa Kandic as a human rights-based non-governmental organization that would document the egregious human rights violations that were then being perpetrated on a massive scale across the former Yugoslavia, during the armed conflicts in Croatia, in Bosnia, and later on Kosovo.
The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations granted a special consultative status on the ECOSOC to the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) in September 2010. The special consultative status was granted to the HLC because of its activities and contributions to the transitional justice process on the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
Ms. Nataša Kandić, Founder
Ms. Nataša Kandić, the Founder of the HLC, has won over 20 international, regional and national awards for human rights. In 2000, she was presented with the Martin Ennals award, a prestigious award for human rights defenders. Nataša Kandić is one of the names on the list of 36 European heroes in 2003 chosen by the American magazine Time. In 2004, the People in Need Foundation awarded the Homo Homini award to Nataša Kandić and the HLC, and this award was presented to Nataša Kandić by Vaclav Havel. In 2005, she was pronounced an Honorary Citizen of Sarajevo, and Slobodna Bosna magazine elected her Person of the Year in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In September 2006, Time magazine pronounced Nataša Kandić one of the heroes of the past 60 years. In March 2007, Nataša became a member of the International Journal of Transitional Justice (Oxford University Journals), and in August 2008, she was invited to join the Advisory Council of the Weiser Centre for Emerging Democracies, University of Michigan. The Kosovo Institute of Peace presented Nataša with ‘The Peace Award’ in November 2012, “for her extraordinary work and contribution for reconciliation among the nations in the Balkans”. In 2013, Nataša was named the ‘Civil Rights Defender of the Year’, she was the winner of the ‘Days of Sarajevo 2013’ award, given by the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia, and also received the ‘Hrant Dink’ award from the Turkish ‘Hrant Dink Foundation’.
Ms. Sandra Orlović, Executive Director
Prior to being appointed Executive Director of the HLC, Sandra Orlović spent five years managing a team of researchers and analysts on the Kosovo Memory Book Project. During the same period, she was the Deputy to the then Executive Director, Nataša Kandić. She had joined the HLC team in 2005. In the beginning, she worked as a researcher into human rights violations and as a monitor of war crimes trials and the trial in the case of the murder of the Prime Minister of Serbia, Zoran Đinđić. In the period 2006-2007, she coordinated the programme of support for victims of serious violations of human rights committed during the nineteen-nineties in realizing their right to reparation. She graduated in International Law at the Belgrade Faculty of Law. During 2012, she completed the Historical Dialogue and Responsibility programme at Columbia University in New York. The Schwarzkopf Foundation from Berlin awarded her with the title of Young European of the Year in 2009.
Ms. Marijana Toma, Deputy Executive Director
Marijana Toma coordinates the Programme of Education on Strategies and Experiences of the Transitional Justice Process in the former Yugoslavia. She joined the HLC team in 2003, where she worked as Project and Programme Coordinator on documenting war crimes, oral history, forced disappearances and Transitional Justice. During the past 12 years, she has been involved in numerous Transitional Justice projects in the region and internationally. She was the Coordinator of the task force group for drafting the mandate for RECOM. Before that, she was working as Serbia Programme Coordinator in Impunity Watch, an international organization, seeking to promote accountability for past atrocities in countries emerging from a violent past, and for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Mission in Serbia on the legal labour migration project. She also worked in the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) in Cape Town, South Africa, during her studies in Transitional Justice. Marijana writes and lectures on Transitional Justice, truth commissions and reparations in numerous regional and international informal and formal educational programmes on dealing with the past.
Milica Kostić, Legal Director
Milica Kostić joined the HLC team in 2012 as a researcher on the Human Losses project. Besides being the Legal Director, she is the leader of the “Dossiers” project. Before joining the HLC, Milica worked as a trainee in Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Arbitration Group and interned in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Milica holds an LL.M. degree from the University of Michigan Law School, where she studied as a Hugo Grotius Fellow. She graduated cum laude from the Union University Law School in Belgrade, where she currently teaches public international law as an assistant professor.
Ms. Jelena Krstić, Outreach Manager
Jelena Krstić worked in the HLC from 2007 to 2012 and then rejoined the team in April 2014. Meanwhile, she worked in public administration, mainly on civil society, regional cooperation and European integration issues. From 2007 until 2012 she was the regional coordinator of the RECOM Process, aimed at creating a model for the Regional commission for establishing the facts about war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and advocating for the establishment of the commission. In addition, in 2011 she led the first HLC's National School of Transitional Justice. Now in the HLC she works in the field of outreach and European integration. Jelena graduated in Political Science at the Belgrade Faculty of Political Sciences. She also attended several informal education programmes on human rights and peace building.