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
- Initiative for RECOM
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.
Documentary of the first 15 years of the HLC’s work.
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’.
The HLC is led by an Executive Team
Budimir Ivanišević, Executive Director
As the Executive Director, Budimir Ivanišević, represents the HLC and manages and oversees the work of the HLC. Budimir’s core responsibilities within the executive team include the financial and administrative management of the organisation. He joined the HLC in 1999. In addition to financial management, he has been responsible for programme development, designing project proposals and project implementation monitoring. In 2004 he was appointed Director of Finance. In addition, he has been responsible for the financial management of the Initiative for RECOM project for more than three years and of a few other regional projects.
Budimir holds a B.A. in Economics from the Belgrade University School of Economics. While working at the HLC, he has completed several training courses in Serbia and abroad in project cycle management, financial management, fundraising and human resources management. In 2004, he participated in a Visiting Fellows Programme in the United States, where he interned at several major international nongovernmental organisations and foundations.
Jelena Krstić is in charge of programme development and informing the public about the HLC’s work and transitional justice processes. She joined the HLC in 2007 to coordinate the project aimed at establishing the facts about human rights violations committed during the armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. From 2008 to 2012, she was the Coordinator of the Regional Initiative for RECOM. In 2011, she led the first HLC National School of Transitional Justice. From 2012 to 2014 she worked at the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society of the Government of Serbia, where she dealt primarily with issues related to civil society, regional cooperation and Serbia’s EU integration process. Since re-joining the HLC team in April 2014, Jelena has been dealing with outreach and European integration, and has monitored the implementation of transitional justice mechanisms in Serbia.
Jelena recieved a degree in Political Science from the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade. She also completed several informal training courses in human rights and peace-building.
Nemanja Stjepanović is principally responsible for the institutional development of the HLC. He is also involved in the project "Dossiers – the search for war crimes perpetrators", and actively communicates the organization’s achievements to the general public as regards dealing with the past in Serbia. He first joined the HLC in 2014 as a Member of the Board, and in 2016 he became engaged in the HLC's work programme. During the period 2005 - 2015, Nemanja was working on monitoring numerous court proceedings before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia regarding crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo, within the terms of his employment at the SENSE Agency. Nemanja's experience also includes journalistic work for the Video Weekly (VIN) production agency, activism in the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia, and monitoring the work of the media for the OSCE / ODHIR missions in Serbia. He is also co-author of several research papers on media content, published in cooperation with the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia and the Youth Initiative for Human Rights
Časlav Ninković is Office Coordinator, and associate on projects within the HLC Education Programme. Prior to his engagement with the HLC, he collaborated with several non-governmental organizations in the field of political education of young people and trade union organizations, and taught high school students in Sociology and Civic Education. Časlav graduated in Sociology at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade. His professional interests include the fields of the political education of youth, political theory, contemporary political practice and the historical development and disintegration of Yugoslavia.
Ivana Žanić is Coordinator of the HLC Legal Team. She works on the project "Dossiers - Search for war crimes perpetrators". She was previously researcher on the project "The Kosovo Memory Book ". Ivana graduated in Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade, and holds a master’s degree at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade (mastering with the subject "Command Responsibility in the Jurisdiction of International Tribunals"). She passed her Bar Exam in 2015.
Jovana Kolarić is Researcher on the project "Dossiers - Search for war crimes perpetrators". She first volunteered, and later was engaged in the projects "Register of Croatian citizens of Serbian ethnicity, killed in the armed conflict in Croatia" and "Human losses in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia". She graduated in Sociology at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Novi Sad, and completed several informal trainings in the field of transitional justice and conflict theory.
Višnja Šijačić is Legal Analyst at the HLC and Coordinator of the project "Monitoring the Implementation of the National Strategy for War Crimes Prosecution in Serbia." Prior to her engagement with the HLC, Višnja worked as an attorney trainee, and actively participated in the work of the Youth Center CK13 in Novi Sad. She graduated in Law, and is currently pursuing advanced studies in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law, at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade.
Predrag Miletić is Coordinator of the HLC Information Systems, an integral part of which is the War Crimes and Past Human Rights Violations Data Base. On the project "South Sudan: Human Rights Documentation Initiative", he is Consultant-Analyst. He is also collaborator on the project "Regional Network of Civil Society Organizations for Reconciliation in the Former Yugoslavia: Support for the Establishment of RECOM / The Kosovo Memory Book". Predrag graduated in Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade, and completed several informal educational courses on oral history, international humanitarian law, documenting and managing databases.
Jelena Jovanović is Researcher and Analyst on the project for documenting human losses in the wars in the former Yugoslavia. She joined the HLC in 2010 as archivist on the projects of digitisation of archival material and the transfer of the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. She graduated and mastered at the History Department of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, and completed a one-year master’s programme at the Central European University in Budapest.
Milan Gačanović is engaged in information and statistical support at the HLC and other tasks related to the analysis and processing of data in the HLC Data Base. Milan is a sociologist and holds a degree at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Belgrade. Milan has been part of the HLC since the founding of the organisation back in 1992.
Vladimir Milanović coordinates the project "Transfer of the Hague Archives" and coordinates the Archive and Library of HLC. Previously, he worked in the Archives of Yugoslavia, and joined the HLC on the project "Creating ICTY Trials Transcripts in B/C/S languages". Vladimir graduated in History at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, passed the professional exam in archival science and obtained the National Library license for creating bibliographic records in the COBISS.SR system. He completed the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research of the University of Harvard.
Mia Deretić is the Head of HLC accounting. She has previously carried out accounting work in several foreign and international companies, and for seven years owned a private accountancy agency. At the French company Pernod Ricard Serbia, she performed the role of controller in the financial service. Mia is member of the Serbian Association of Accountants and Auditors, and she attended a number of training courses on accounting and financial management.
Biljana Vasković is Financial Manager at the HLC, in charge of the financial management of the regional project The Initiative for the Establishment of RECOM, as well as of financial operations and reporting to donors. As a volunteer, she took part in the campaign "RECOM –Sign Up!" in 2011. Prior to her engagement with the HLC, she conducted financial evaluations and technical and financial monitoring of approved projects in the youth sector of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Biljana graduated in International Relations at the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Belgrade.
Meris Mušanović is Legal Analyst at the HLC, engaged in the programme "Reparations". Prior to engaging with the HLC, Meris worked at a law office in Sarajevo. He graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Sarajevo and received master's degrees in Democracy and Human Rights at the University of Bologna on the topic: “Dealing with the Past: Challenges of Co-existence and Prosecution of War Crimes in Serbia”, and in International Public and European Law at the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the topic: "The role of victims before the Hague Tribunal - search for justice". Meris has completed several informal trainings in the field of transitional justice and human rights.