Reconciliation was one of the main goals of the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Justice was seen as a means to compensate victims and ban perpetrators from power.
Chapter 1: Serbia
However, 26 years after the genocide in Srebrenica, in the Balkans most of the current political leaders are still linked to the nationalist movements from the war era, and power is still divided along ethnic lines. Former ICTY prosecutor Serge Brammertz, addressing the Security Council in July 2019, stated that the situation has worsened dramatically in the last five years: "Denial of crimes and the glorification of war criminals are destabilizing the region and preventing reconciliation". In this project a cross-border team of journalists sheds a light on how societies in the former Yugoslavia deal with the past, by focusing on how war criminals are reintegrated in their home countries: a closer look at the results of international criminal justice.
In Serbia the team met several actors in this process: four convicted war criminals (two high level politicians and two high ranking military officers, who are now free men), young and veteran activists who campaign against glorification, defence lawyers and academic researchers.
The media hook to publish this story is the final judgement for Ratko Mladic, set for June 8th. The bosnian serb general is considered responsible for the crimes committed in Srebrenica, Sarajevo and many other locations across Bosnia during the 1992-1995 conflict.
Photo: Belgrade, May 2021. Veselin Šljivančanin in the office of his lawyer. Šljivančanin, a former Montenegrin Serb officer in the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), participated in the Battle of Vukovar and was subsequently convicted on a war crimes indictment by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for his role in the Vukovar massacre. His prison sentence was changed twice, from five to seventeen to ten years. He has since been ordered released by the ICTY on time served and good behavior.
Photo credit: Martino Lombezzi
- In Servië zijn de schurken uit de oorlog weer helden - De Volkskrant, 05/06/2021