The following media round up on international, legal and foreign policy issues from around the Balkans for the period from 1 October to 21 October 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.
Serbia – 15 October 2021
President Joe Biden nominated Christopher Hill as the next US ambassador to Belgrade. He played an important role in peace negotiations between Serbia and the Kosovo Liberation Army in the late 1990s.
Serbia – 18 October 2021
A former senior policewoman and former state secretary at the Interior Ministry, Dijana Hrkalovic, was arrested on suspicion of having had close ties to a notorious criminal gang in Serbia. Her Lawyer claims that her arrest was politically motivated and that Dijana Hrkalovic is being turned into a scapegoat.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 18 October 2021
The defence lawyer of Dragomir Vasic urged the Bosnian state court in Sarajevo to clear his client of assisting in the forcible resettlement of Bosniaks from Srebrenica in July 1995 as well as the capture and execution of men and boys in Bratunac, Srebrenica and Zvornik. The defence felt that “the prosecution did not prove that Vasic knew about the intention of the alleged perpetrators of the joint criminal enterprise”.
Serbia – 18 October 2021
The Belgrade Appeals Court ordered the release of Edin Vranj, a former senior Bosnian police official whose arrest in Serbia on war crimes charges sparked angry reactions from ministers in his home country.
Croatia – 18 October 2021
The President of the CPT, Alan Mitchell, met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Davor Božinović, in Zagreb, to discuss the treatment of migrants deprived of their liberty. https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/-/council-of-europe-anti-torture-committee-cpt-president-holds-high-level-talks-with-deputy-prime-minister-and-minister-of-the-interior-of-croatia-on-mi
Albania –19 October 2021
The European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, ruled in favour of a man whose case for compensation over an ammunition dump explosion in 2008 was not heard by an Albanian court because he could not pay the required legal costs.
Kosovo – 20 October 2021
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International welcomed the decision of an Austrian-based energy company that withdrew a lawsuit against two Kosovo environmental activists who campaigned for years against the construction of hydropower plants in western Kosovo. “Kelkos Energy was using these lawsuits to intimidate and silence activists from speaking out about the possible environmental damage caused by the company’s exploitation of Kosovo’s natural resources. Kelkos Energy’s decision to immediately and unconditionally drop these lawsuits is a victory for freedom of expression, but Shpresa Loshaj and Adriatik Gacaferi should have never been sued in the first place,” said Jelena Sesar, a Western Balkan researcher at Amnesty International.
Montenegro – 21 October 2021
The Montenegrin police arrested the former head of National Security Agency, ANB, Dejan Perunic, for illegal wiretapping of the Special State Prosecutor’s Office. Special State Prosecutor Milivoje Katnic said Perunicic is suspected of abuse of office, after conforming that an illegal surveillance bug was found in his office.