Serbia refuses to apply provisions of Protocol I additional to the Geneva Conventions

8th of June 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the adoption of Protocol I additional to the Geneva Conventions, which prescribes the responsibility of a commander to prevent the commission of crimes and punish the perpetrators.

Article 87, paragraph 3 of the Protocol: „The High Contracting Parties and Parties to the conflict shall require any commander who is aware that subordinates or other persons under his control are going to commit or have committed a breach of the Conventions or of this Protocol, to initiate such steps as are necessary to prevent such violations of the Conventions or this Protocol, and, where appropriate, to initiate disciplinary or penal action against violators thereof.” Protocol I had been incorporated into national military legislation already back in 1988. Although there is legal basis, no one has ever been prosecuted for command responsibility in Serbia for crimes committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia.

The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) filed a number of criminal complaints against commanders in whose areas of responsibility crimes had been committed. Apart from opening an investigation in the case of Dragan Živanović, HLC’s criminal complaints have been ignored. Not a single high-ranking person has been prosecuted by the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor of Serbia in 13 years since the beginning of its work.

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“General Diković and 37th Brigade in Kosovo” Film

Dosije_Dikovic-thumb-enApproximately 1,400 civilians were killed in the area of responsibility of the 37th Brigade of the Yugoslav Army in Kosovo in 1999. The mortal remains of a number of victims were discovered in mass graves in Serbia. The present Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Army, Ljubiša Diković, was the Commander of the Brigade at this time. Neither he nor any members of his unit have been held accountable for these crimes.

 The evidence showing the presence and the role of the Yugoslav Army in the mass killings of civilians in Izbica, Čirez, Savarine, Rezala and other villages in the Drenica region is presented in the film titled “Ljubiša Diković and the 37th Brigade in Kosovo”, made by the Humanitarian Law Center. This evidence has already been presented in the “Ljubiša Diković” and “Rudnica” Dossiers.

 A number of TV services in Serbia, including the public broadcasters Radio and Television of Serbia and Radio and Television of Vojvodina, have refused or have not responded to the request that they screen the film. For this reason, the film will be posted on the HLC’s webpage and youtube channel on Tuesday, February 21st at 11:00 a.m.

 

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The Scorpions – A home movie

The film has been made owing to the financial support of National Endowment for Democracy (NED), U.S.A, and Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights (SHC), Sweden.

Archival footage used in this film includes materials of Humanitarian Law Center, International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia and records made by Scorpions themselves.

Film “The Scorpions – Home Movie” has been released on 10 April 2007, on the day of pronouncement of the verdict of the War Crimes Council of the Regional Court of Belgrade to the Scorpions for the war crime committed in Trnovo.

By using the statements of former members of the Scorpions unit, and the materials recorded by the unit itself in the course of its campaignes, this film demonstrates the functioning of a typical combat unit organized by the security service to do dirty jobs in the Balkan wars.

Archival footage used in this film includes materials of Humanitarian Law Center, International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia and records made by Scorpions themselves.

The film has been made owing to the financial support of National Endowment for Democracy and Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights.


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