The following media round up on international, legal and foreign policy issues from around the Balkans for the period from 19 August to 26 August 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 – 19 August 2021
The Chairman of Serbia’s Commission for Investigating Murders of Journalists during Slobodan Milosevic’s regime, Veran Matic, said that investigators still face grave risks doing their job. In a written statement Matic said that there are security risks especially for Dragan Kecman, the head of the police working group for solving the murder of Slavko Curuvija.
Slavko Curuvija, a journalist, was shot dead in Belgrade during the bombing in April 1999 allegedly because of his outspoken criticism of President Milosevic.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 24 August 2021
Miodrag Stojanovic, a member of Ratko Mladic’s legal team, said that Ratko Mladic’s health condition was deteriorating. Mladic is at the moment in custody at the UN detention unit near The Hague, where he is waiting to be transferred to prison in another country to serve his life sentence for wartime crimes. Mladic’s lawyers have repeatedly claimed that he has not been getting proper treatment and that his health problems have been underestimated. The UN court has repeatedly declined requests for him to be hospitalised for treatment.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 24 August 2021
President of the Social Democratic Party of BiH Nermin Niksic talked with US Ambassador to BiH Eric Nelson and Deputy Head of Mission Deborah Mennuti about the current political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They also discussed changes to the BiH Criminal Code by former High Representative Valentin Inzko and the fight against corruption and crime.
Croatia – 24 August 2021
Croatia's judiciary has requested Mamić's extradition on three grounds but the Prosecutorial authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and former football coach Zoran Mamić's lawyers said that they were opposed to his extradition to Croatia, claiming that the legal requirements for his extradition had not been met. Earlier this year Zoran Mamic and his brother received a four-year prison sentence by Croatia’s Supreme Court for committing fraud.
Kosovo – 25 August 2021
Kosovo’s Court of Appeal upheld the verdict from 2019 that convicted Ivan Todosijevic of two-year imprisonment for ethnic, racial or religious intolerance for his comments about the January 1999 massacre of 45 Kosovo Albanians in the village of Racak, which he claimed was staged.
In the Court of Appeal’s decision, it said that it “finds the defence claim that the facts were wrongly determined to be unfounded” and that Ivan Todosijevic’s comments “could incite hatred, division, intolerance between ethnic groups in Kosovo” and went too far to be acceptable under laws guaranteeing freedom of expression.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 25 August 2021
Goran Viskovic, a former Bosnian Serb Army military policeman, went on trial for crimes against humanity, including the killing of eight Bosniak detainees from a wartime detention camp near Vlasenica. Goran Viskovic is already serving an 18-year sentence for crimes against non-Serbs in the Vlasenica municipality, including two rapes, after being convicted in a previous trial in 2011.
Balkan – 26 August 2021
More than three decades after the wars in the former Yugoslavia began, Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia insist they are committed to continuing to launch new war crimes investigations and issue new indictments. Meanwhile as the years pass, witnesses and suspects become older, fall ill and die, the slow pace of judicial progress increasingly raises the question of whether final verdicts will ever be delivered. The total number of war crime suspects who have died before justice was done in the three aforementioned countries is over 35.
Montenegro – 26 August 2021
Montenegrin Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic and former police chief Veselin Veljovic filed criminal complaints against each other in a row over potential protests at the inauguration of the new head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the country.