HLC on the Acquittal of Gotovina and Markac

The ICTY’s final judgment in the trial of General Gotovina and General Markac brings no justice to the victims. According to the appellate decision for acquittal, no form of state responsibility of the Republic of Croatia has been established for the crimes committed during and after  Operation Storm. Accordingly, no joint criminal enterprise has been established, nor even the generals’ individual criminal responsibility.


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Chief Prosecution Witness ‘Not Credible’ but 11 Convicted in Gnjilane Case Re-trial

On September 19th, 2012, a trial chamber at the Higher Court in Belgrade – War Crimes Department, presided over by Judge Snežana Nikolić-Garotić, rendered a guilty verdict  sentencing Samet Hajdari to 15 years of imprisonment, Ahmet and Nazif Hasani to 13 years each, Agush Memishi, Burim Fazliu, and Selimon Sadiku to 12 years each, Faton Hajdari to 10 years, Kamber Sahiti, Ferat Hajdari, and Sadik Aliu to 8 years each, and Shefqet Musliu to 5 years of imprisonment. They were found guilty of committing a criminal act of war crime against the civilian population, as defined by Article 142 Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code of Yugoslavia, in Gnjilane/Gjilan during the period June 17th-23rd, 1999, against protected witnesses C1 and C2, whom they tortured, beat and raped. The accused were acquitted, due to a lack of evidence, of charges of torture and killing of as yet unidentified victims and of the mutilation and incineration of bodies. Fazli Ajdari, Rexhep Aliu, Shaqir Shaqiri, Shefqet Musliu, Sadik Aliu, Idriz Aliu, Shemsij Nuhium, Ramadan Halimi, and Ferat Hajdari were acquitted of all charges due to the lack of evidence.


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Lovas case first-instance judgment demonstrates professionalism of Trial Panel

On June 26, 2012 the Trial Panel of the Higher Court in Belgrade – War Crimes Department, presided over by judge Olivera Andjelkovic, delivered its judgment on fourteen defendants, convicted for having ordered or carried out an attack on Croat civilians in the village of Lovas, in the Republic of Croatia, during October and November 1991. The fourteen were convicted for having committed crimes of inhuman treatment, torture, violation of bodily integrity (beating, wounding or causing serious bodily harm)  and murder, which resulted in the killing of 40 and the wounding of 11 Croat civilians.


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Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor is Politically Influenced: The Case of Ethnic Albanians in Bujanovac

Five ethnic Albanian men, suspected by the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor, for the kidnapping and murder of Serb civilians during the internal conflict in South Serbia between 1999 and 2001, were released on May 9, 2012, following the suspension of legal activity against them. The HLC believes that the arrests, detention and their eventual release were politically motivated.


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Beli Manastir verdict delivers incomplete justice

On June 19th, 2012, the trial chamber of the Higher Court in Belgrade – War Crimes Department, presided over by Judge Dragan Mirković, convicted four persons indicted for the commission of war crimes against Croat civilians in the Beli Manastir municipality between August 1991 and later the same year. Zoran Vukšić was sentenced to 20 years in prison Slobodan Strigić to 10 years, Bransko Hrnjak to 5 years and Velimir Bertić to 1 year and 6 months.


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Report from the Debate on War Crimes Trials in Serbia

A debate on war crimes trials in Serbia was held on Friday April 27th, 2012 in the Media Centre in Belgrade. The reason for organizing this debate was the Report on War Crimes Trials in Serbia in 2011 published by the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC). Representatives of the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor, the Higher Court in Belgrade Department for War Crimes, the Court of Appeals in Belgrade, the courts from all over Serbia, attorneys, representatives of civil society, and representatives of embassies participated in the debate.


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Darko Janković and Goran Savić Found Guilty of War Crimes Against Muslims in the Municipality of Zvornik

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The Trial Chamber of the Higher Court in Belgrade War Crimes Department presided by Judge Tatjana Vuković rendered a judgment on December 16th, 2011, after three years of trials, finding the accused Darko Janković aka Pufta and Goran Savić guilty and sentencing them to 15 years of imprisonment and 1 year and 6 months of imprisonment respectively, while the accused Saša Ćilerdžić was acquitted of charges. The Humanitarian Law Center believes that the Court has rendered a just sentence in the case of the accused Janković, which is adequate for the gravity of the crime committed. In this moment, while there is no access to the written reasoning of the judgment, it is unclear what were the reasons that led the Court into rendering the acquittal of Ćilerdžić and the minimum prison sentence in the case of the accused Savić.


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