The following media round up on international, legal and foreign policy issues from around the Balkans for the period from 13 September to 16 September 2021. The Guernica Group will provide bi-weekly media updates with a focus Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia . Should you wish to contribute or submit a media summary, opinion piece or blog, please send to Ned Vucijak at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Croatia – 11 September 2021
Interior Minister Davor Božinović criticised the statements by Opposition MPs following arrests in two corruption cases in Međimurje County. MP Stjepan Kovač and MP Nikola Grmoja of the Bridge party stated that the arrests were politically motivated to "divert attention from the scandal in Kutina".
Serbia – 13 September 2021
Edin Vranj, a former Senior Bosnian Ex-Police Officer, was arrested at the border crossing between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office said that Vranj is “charged with having committed the criminal offence of war crimes against prisoners of war in the period from 1993 to 1994 in the municipality of Gorazde, Bosnia and Herzegovina”.
Kosovo – 15 September 2021
Former Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA unit commander Salih Mustafa, went on trial at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague. He is charged with involvement in murder, torture, cruel treatment and arbitrary detentions during the Kosovo war in April 1999. This is the first war crimes trial held at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers.
Kosovo – 15 September 2021
The Victims’ Participation Office of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers said, in its opening statement at the first trial held at the Hague-based court, that the alleged victims of Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA fighters during the 1998-99 war have been intimidated into silence for decades.
Bosnia and Hercegovina- 15 September 2021
The Dutch advisor to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, HJPC, says the proceedings conducted against the state court president and chief prosecutor highlight the system’s reluctance to impose serious penalties.
Bosnia and Herzegovina -15 September 2021
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has recommended to all its citizens who were involved in the defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, during the period of aggression, from 1992 to the end of 1995, to put a hold on all their travels to the Republic of Serbia. This is due to the risk of being arrested and prosecuted on charges of alleged war crimes.
Serbia – 15 September 2021
The New Serbian national holiday is causing unease across the other Balkan countries. Belgrade started off the holiday with a display of military power and called for all Serbs in the Balkans to unite under one flag. Croatian President Zoran Milanović said he could not believe that Serbs "have nothing more important or smarter to do" than create holidays that infringe on the internal affairs of neighbouring states.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 16 September 2021
The Bosnian state court has outstanding international arrest warrants for 41 people accused of committing wartime crimes including genocide – although some of them are already being tried in Serbia. https://balkaninsight.com/2021/09/16/bosnian-court-has-international-warrants-for-41-war-crimes-suspects/
Serbia – 16 September 2021
The European Court of Human Rights has requested Serbia not to extradite a wanted Kurdish activist to Turkey, where he has been sentenced to life in prison, before the Court has had time to properly evaluate his case.