The following media round up on international, legal and foreign policy issues from around the Balkans for the period from 25 October to 29 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.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 25 October 2021
In closing arguments at the Bosnian state court in Sarajevo, defendant Vukasin Draskovic’s lawyer Petko Pavlovic asked for a verdict of acquittal, arguing that the prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his client was involved in an attack by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1992.
Kosovo – 26 October 2021
A journalist from Pristina told the trial of Kosovo Liberation Army War Veterans’ Organisation leaders Hysni Gucati and Nasim Haradinaj at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague how he received the allegedly leaked war crimes case files from the defendants.
Bosnia and Hercegovina – 27 October 2021
Simo Stupar’s defence asked the Bosnian state court in Sarajevo to overturn the first-instance verdict, sentencing him to 12 years in prison for crimes against humanity in Vlasenica in 1992.
Montenegro – 27 October 2021
The Montenegrin Deputy PM, Dritan Abazovic, called on the ruling majority MPs to support the proposed Origin of Property Law, saying it was needed to improve the country’s fight against organised crime and corruption. “Our goal is to put an end to illegal enrichment of criminals and state officials. I would call it a law against the mafia. The government has completed the first step but the main work starts after its adoption in parliament,” Abazovic said. https://balkaninsight.com/2021/10/27/montenegro-parliament-pressed-to-back-key-anti-mafia-law/
Kosovo – 28 October 2021
The appeals chamber at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague rejected ex-President Hashim Thaci’s plea for conditional release from pre-trial detention because there is still a risk that he might abscond.
Serbia – 28 October 2021
The Serbian government has welcomed the Venice Commission’s opinion on its proposed changes to the constitution in the realm of justice as “positive”, though legal experts say a closer read reveals important questions about political influence and legitimacy. https://balkaninsight.com/2021/10/28/no-guarantee-question-marks-over-serbian-constitutional-changes/
Croatia – 28 October 2021
Karolina Vidović Krišto, an Independent MP, has sent a letter to European Commissioner for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová, warning her about "systematic disregard for laws to which Croatian citizens have been exposed", which, she says, causes poverty and injustice in society.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 28 October 2021
Envoys of the United States and the European Union, Matthew Palmer and Angelina Eichhorst, arrived in Sarajevo to discuss electoral reforms in BiH. Meetings with party leaders and representatives of BiH institutions were planned, and Palmer has already announced in which direction he hopes talks will go. https://www.sarajevotimes.com/magazinovic-there-should-be-no-negotiations-on-the-election-law-until-the-work-of-bih-institutions-is-unblocked/