The following media round up on international, legal and foreign policy issues from around the Balkans for the period from 14 May to 28 May 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 – 14 May 2021
A Serbian Court has ruled that senior commanders cannot be held legally responsible for crimes committed by their subordinates. The ruling sets a dangerous precedent for any other cases involving the potential prosecution of high-ranking commanders for crimes committed during the 1990s wars. It says that it is not possible to prosecute someone in Serbia for having command responsibility for crimes committed by subordinates during the Kosovo war, because the concept of command responsibility was only introduced into the Serbian criminal code in 2006, while the alleged crimes took place in 1999. Neither is it possible to prosecute someone for crimes against humanity allegedly committed before 2006, for the same reason.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 18 May 2021
The Constitutional Court in Sarajevo has ruled that Mico Jurisic, a former policeman, did receive a fair trial. Mico Jurisic was jailed for 11 years for crimes against humanity.
Croatia – 20 May 2021
A collection of portraits, called “The Passage”, of migrants and refugees who lost their lives on the so-called Balkan Route to Western Europe has opened in the Living Atelier DK gallery in Croatia’s capital Zagreb. This exhibition is a collaboration of artists, researchers, translators, and members of the Women to Women collective, which brings together local women and refugees in Zagreb.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 21 May 2021
The Bosnian Prosecution launched an investigation into Snipers operating in Sarajevo during the siege in 1992. The investigation started after the media published footage from a documentary film, made by French journalist Philippe Buffon in 1992, about Snipers operating in Sarajevo.
Montenegro – 24 May 2021
Milivoje Katnic, Special State Prosecutor in Montenegro, promised to take actions against Montenegrin citizens who were involved in war crimes. Katnic said that these procedures are being done in secret and special care is being taken not to send warning to the persons who are being investigated.
Kosovo – 24 May 2021
Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti has vowed to revive the controversial idea of launching an international court case against Serbia for alleged genocide during the 1998-99 war.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 26 May 2021
Ratko Mladic, accused of genocide, seeks to postpone the final verdict in his trial, because one of his lawyers will be unable to attend due to illness. The Final verdict is scheduled for June 8.
Kosovo – 27 May 2021
Kosovo Women’s Network, KWN, a women’s advocacy group welcomed the Basic Court of Ferizaj/Urosevac ruling on sentencing Naser Pajazitaj to life imprisonment for the murder of his cousin Donjeta Pajazita. KWN stated that, “having in consideration the numerous cases of physical and sexual violence against women, such verdicts bring a glimpse of hope that violence and murder of women will be sentenced without any compromise”.
Bosnia and Herzegovina - 28 May 2021
It is confirmed that Radovan Karadzic, who was sentenced to life in prison for genocide and war crimes, has been transferred from the UN Detention Unit in The Hague to Britain on Wednesday.