The following media round up on international, legal and foreign policy issues from around the Balkans for the period from 12 June to 24 June 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 June 2021
Belgrade’s Higher Court sentenced Joja Plavanjac to 15 years in prison and Zdravko Narancic to 7 years in a retrial for their involvement in the killings of 11 civilian detainees at a prison in Bosanska Krupa in Bosnia on August 3, 1992.
Bosnia and Herzegovina 14 June 2021
NATO heads of states and governments that attended the alliance summit in Brussels vowed to support the territorial integrity and stability of Bosnia while reaffirming “unity, solidarity, and cohesion, and pledging to open a new chapter in transatlantic relations” and address China’s growing influence as well as Russia’s aggressive actions that pose a threat to Euro-Atlantic security.
Kosovo – 15 June 2021
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti held their first EU-mediated meeting in Brussels. Mr Vucic stated that Pristina was not open to any compromise and said that Kurti was unwilling to take responsibility or face reality. According to Mr Kurti, the meeting was constructive and it left him optimistic.
Croatia- 16 June 2021
The State Attorney’s Office in the city of Osijek announced that it has indicted an unnamed 50-year-old former Serbian paramilitary fighter for committing a war crime in a settlement near Vukovar in eastern Croatia.
Serbia – 17 June 2021
The UN court will deliver its first-instance verdict, on 30 June, in the retrial of former Serbian State Security officials Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, who are accused of controlling Serb units that committed crimes during the war in the 1990s.
Montenegro- 17 June 2021
Montenegro’s parliament dismissed Minister of Justice, Human and Minority Rights Vladimir Leposavic after he expressed doubts about the rulings of the Hague tribunal classifying the 1995 Srebrenica massacre by Bosnian Serb forces as genocide. The pro-Serbian politician had argued that the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague had no legitimacy.
Serbia -21 June 2021
The Council of Europe announced that several EU candidate countries in the Balkans had aligned themselves with the Council Decision to strengthen restrictive measures on Belarus by introducing a ban on the overflight of EU airspace and access to EU airports of Belarusian carriers of all kinds. Serbia, a country with traditionally friendly relations with Belarus, agreed to the sanctions.
Serbia- 23 June 2021
Ahead of the initial verdict in the last trial at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) looks back on the landmark judgments, controversies, successes and failures in the UN court’s mission to seek justice for the atrocities committed in the 1990s.
Serbia – 24 June 2021
Records held by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia show how paramilitary units were set up and deployed to use violence to achieve political aims in the 1990s wars. The research was conducted over a period of four years, as part of a larger project funded by the Dutch Research Council about Serbian paramilitaries during the break-up of Yugoslavia.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 24 June 2021
The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina annulled the verdict of the Supreme Court of the Republika Srpska, which denied the existence of discrimination in access to education for students of the Bosniak returnee community in Konjevic Polje.