25 Years Since Crime at Ovčara Victims’ trust in domestic judiciary is betrayed

Ovcara 25 godinaNovember 20th 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the crime committed at „Ovčara“ farm near Vukovar, when members of the local territorial defense unit (Teritorijalna odbrana – TO) and Serb volunteers under the command of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) killed 265 Croatian civilians and prisoners of war. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) on this occasion would like to remind the public that the trial of this case before the domestic courts has not yet been finally completed, even after more than 12 years.


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Acquittal in Gradiška Case: New Instance of Omissions in Work of Prosecutor’s Office and Court

Logo FHPThe Higher Court in Belgrade rendered a judgment in the Gradiška Case on October 13th, 2016, acquitting the accused Goran Šinik of charges that he had committed an act of war crime against a civilian population. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) emphasizes that this judgement is the outcome of an unfounded indictment filed by the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP), as well as of inadequate control exercised by the Trial Chamber of the Higher Court in Belgrade in the phase of judgment confirmation; and that this case represents a paradigmatic example of how an image of productivity of the war crimes judiciary is being fabricated, by raising indictments which are doomed to failure.


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Consequences of Political Tensions on Prosecution of War Crimes: For the first time, Serbia does not participate in the regional conference of war crimes prosecutors

Logo FHPAfter 12 years of contacts between prosecution offices in the region within the framework of cooperation in the prosecution of war crimes, the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP) of the Republic of Serbia for the first time did not participate in the regional conference of war crimes prosecutors, the tenth in the series, which began on the 5th September 2016 in Brijuni, Croatia. This is a dramatic change in long-standing practices, and it is happening at a moment of severely undermined bilateral relations (available in Bosnian) between Serbia and Croatia, and a political crisis (available in Serbian) in the region. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) feels that this is an alarming indicator of political influence being exerted on the judiciary, and points out that the decision on non-participation by the OWCP at the conference is in direct conflict with the obligations which the Republic of Serbia committed itself to with the Action Plan for Chapter 23 and the National Strategy for the Prosecution of War Crimes.

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Open Letter to E.U. & U.S. Leaders

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8 July 2016: To mark the 17th Anniversary of the Bytyqi murders, please read this Open Letter to European Union and United States leaders on the failures of Serbia’s war crimes processes and in the Bytyqi case. The letter is signed by nearly forty experts with considerable experience in government, academia, and within the NGO community on the Balkans.


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War Crimes Trials in Serbia in 2014 and 2015

Predstavljanje izveštaja o suđenjima za ratne zločine 2014-15On Thursday, March 3, 2016, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) presented the Report on War Crimes Trials in Serbia in 2014 and 2015, and organised a debate on this occasion. The Report includes an analysis of 27 cases that were conducted before the courts in Serbia, the general findings about the war crimes trials, and an overview of the sociopolitical events that were of importance to the war crimes trials in Serbia in the said period.

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Report on War Crimes Trials in Serbia during 2014 and 2015

dvogodisnji_izvestaj_korice_engThe biannual report on war crimes trials in Serbia offers an insight into all war crimes trials conducted  before the Higher Court and the Appellate Court in Belgrade, as well as before the courts of general jurisdiction. The report gives a brief overview of proceedings for 27 cases, as well as the basic findings of the HLC regarding the cases.

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Judgment in “Cobras” Case Delivered

Logo_FHPThe Higher Court in Niš delivered a judgment on February 17th, 2016 finding the accused Shyqer Maloku, Xhafer Gashi, Demush Gacaferi, Dem Maloku, Argon Isufi, Anton Quni, Alija Rabit and Rustem Berisha, who were tried in absentia, guilty of the criminal offence of terrorism and sentencing each of them to 15 years of imprisonment. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) highlights that a distinctive mark of this case was the presence of some illogicalities and serious legal faults emerging from the erroneous qualification of the criminal act and the decision to prosecute the accused in absentia.

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No Justice for Wartime Victims of Sexual Violence

Specijalni sudThe Higher Court in Belgrade War Crimes Department rendered a first instance judgment in the repeated trial of the Bijeljina II Case on November 24th, 2015, acquitting Miodrag Živković once again of the charges related to the commission of a war crime against a civilian population. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) emphasizes that this judgment represents part of the negative score of the national judiciary in the prosecution of cases of wartime sexual violence, and also a continuation of the practice of departing from the international standards set in such cases.

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Trial for the Crime in Trnje – Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

post_trzOnly two trial days have been held since the filing of the indictment for the war crime in the case of Trnje two years ago, while the Ministry of Defence has been refusing since the beginning of the trial to act on the final decision rendered by the Commissioner for  Information of Public Importance (Commissioner) and inform the public about the present status of the two defendants in the Serbian Army (VS). The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) emphasizes  that the delays in the beginning of the trial and the unlawful acts of the respective Ministry degrade the trials for the crimes committed during the nineteen-nineties and discourage victims who have been waiting for justice for 16 years now.

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