- Category: Politics
- Published on Monday, 09 May 2022 08:43
May 6, 2022
The Humanitarian Law Center presented its 10th annual report on the Serbian war crimes prosecution on Friday, warning that the court proceedings were slow.
The Center’s Ivana Zanic told the presentation that the findings in the report are along the same lines as the latest European Union report on Serbia’s progress. “There have been 90 indictments since 2003 against 212 people with 88 people convicted and 54 freed,” she said. According to her, the prosecution has one prosecutor and 12 deputies with modest results to show.
She said that the trials and the process of facing the past is affected by the return of people convicted for war crimes by the Hague Tribunal who are being treated as military analysts and are writing books and appearing on TV. “We have a pandemic of war criminals in public,” she said.
The report said that a large number of the war crimes cases covered in it have been going on for a number of years. “An analysis of the work of other bodies involved in the prosecution of war crimes – the War Crimes Investigation Service of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior (MUP), the Witness Protection Unit and others, cannot not be undertaken in respect of the individual cases, as no information on their activities is publicly available,” it said.
“In the reporting period, the War Crimes Department of the Higher Court in Belgrade handed down first-instance judgments in five cases. It also rendered decisions terminating criminal proceedings in respect of three defendants who had died, and dismissed the indictments against two defendants who had become unfit to stand trial. The War Crimes Department of the Court of Appeal in Belgrade handed down six judgments and three rulings on appeals lodged against judgments of the Higher Court in Belgrade quashing the first instance judgments and remanding the cases for retrial. In the reporting period the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor issued seven indictments against nine persons,” the report said.