The following media round up on international, legal and foreign policy issues from around the Balkans for the period from 29 October to 4 November 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 email@example.com for consideration.
Serbia - 29 October 2021
President Aleksandar Vucic denied claims that he threatened to have a prisoner killed during the Croatian war in 1991, calling the allegations by a war crimes trial witness “brutal and heinous lies”. https://balkaninsight.com/2021/10/29/serbian-president-denies-threatening-to-kill-croatian-war-prisoner/
Kosovo – 29 October 2021
Kosovo's boxing federation has accused Serbia of preventing their team from entering the country for an amateur competition. The boxers tried to cross the border with Serbia, but were asked not to wear Kosovar emblems on their uniforms. When they refused to remove the emblem and tried to enter Serbia again, they were refused entry, according to the Kosovo federation's secretary-general Latif Demolli.
Serbia – 1 November 2021
A hearing in the trial of 11 former Yugoslav Army soldiers for war crimes in four Kosovo villages in May 1999 was postponed at Belgrade Higher Court, meaning that two full years have passed without any hearing in the case being held.
Albania - 3 November 2021
The municipal enforcement office in Tropoja in northern Albania ordered government agencies and private companies to stop work on two hydropower plants on the Valbona River or face fines and criminal prosecution. The construction work has been ordered to halt until the Supreme Court rules on whether to annul the contract after a residents' lawsuit alleged environment damage. https://balkaninsight.com/2021/11/03/construction-of-two-hydropower-plants-ordered-to-halt-in-albania/
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 3 November 2021
The Sarajevo Cantonal Court has sentenced Mustafa Divjan to ten years in prison and Alija Gazibara to two years for crimes against civilians in the Ilidza area during the Bosnian war. https://balkaninsight.com/2021/11/03/bosnian-army-ex-soldiers-convicted-of-crimes-against-serb-prisoners/
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 3 November 2021
Mirko Sarovic, president of Serb Democratic Party, an opposition party in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated Republika Srpska entity, said that he is concerned about the ruling Alliance of Independent Social Democrats’ proposal for Republika Srpska to quit the country’s state-level judicial, defence and taxation authorities. Diplomats have warned that this would amount to a move towards secession.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 4 November 2021
The majority of survivors of sexual violence during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina feel abandoned and betrayed by the system because the statute of limitations is often invoked when they bring civil suits for compensation against the authorities, causing the cases to be dismissed, according to the preliminary findings of a new survey.
According to the findings, sexual violence in the 1992-95 Bosnian war was systemic and institutionalised, as confirmed by the judgments of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Kosovo – 4 November 2021
Over 1,600 people are still listed as missing from the 1998-99 Kosovo war. Kosovo sculptor Eroll Murati’s sculptures, which are on display for the next two weeks in Pristina’s main Skanderbeg Square, are intended to symbolise missing persons’ pleas for their bodies to be found. https://balkaninsight.com/2021/11/04/kosovo-sculptures-call-for-action-on-wartime-missing-persons/
Serbia – 4 November 2021
Sreten Lukic, Serbia’s head of police for Kosovo during the 1998-99 war, was granted early release from prison last month. He has returned to live in Serbia after serving two-thirds of a 20-year sentence for murder, persecution, deportation, and forcible transfer as crimes against humanity. https://balkaninsight.com/2021/11/03/in-serbia-justice-gets-an-early-release/