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