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Documenta – Centre for dealing with the past and Centre for peace, nonviolence and human rights Osijek, will present regular annual report on monitoring of war crime trials in 2016. Press conference concerning the report will be held tomorrow, 13 June 2017, at 11.00 am, at Human Rights House Zagreb, Selska cesta 112 c. 

The Croatian judiciary is still faced with a large number of unprocessed war crimes: at the level of specialized state Attorney’s Offices, only three investigations were initiated in 2016.

Of the twelve raised indictments against 96 indictees, only three of them are in remand prisons. Almost all of the aforementioned indictees are former members of Serbian military units residing in Serbia and criminal proceedings against them are conducted in absentia. This data clearly indicates the lack of effective co-operation between regional War Crimes Prosecutor’s Offices.

30 cases of war crimes trials that we monitored in 2016 were marked by seldom scheduled major hearings, lengthy procedures, frequent repetitions, inaccessibility of the indictee, and low prison sentences.

On the other hand, no positive progress has been made regarding the reparation of civilian war victims (who are also often victims of war crimes) in 2016. Dismissal of the Commission for War Victims of Sexual Violence has also contributed to negative trends in the exercise of these rights. A small number of positive court decisions, both national courts and the European Court of Human Rights, require that the reparation issue be resolved by adopting a new legislative framework.

More details will be presented at tomorrow’s press conference. The speakers will be: Vesna Teršelič, Head of Documenta – Centre for dealing with the past, Jelena Đokić Jović, legal advisor at Documenta and Veselinka Kastratović, war crimes trials monitor.

Documenta – Centre for dealing with the past