The following media round up on international, legal and foreign policy issues from around the Balkans for the period from 28 July to 5 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 email@example.com for consideration.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 28 July 2021
A hearing in the trial of four former Bosnian Serb police officers accused of persecuting Bosniak civilians in the Vlasenica area during wartime was postponed because the defence lawyers were unsure how far they could go in defending their clients in light of legislative changes banning the denial of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Croatia – 28 July 2021
The Croatian Supreme Court announced that it has confirmed the verdict sentencing former Croatian Army soldier Rajko Krickovic to ten years in prison for committing war crimes against Serb civilians in August 1995.
North Macedonia – 29 July 2021
The latest report on North Macedonia published by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) concluded that concerns with respect to living conditions in prisons still remain, despite the fact that minor improvements have been made to Skopje Prison and Idrizovo Prison.
Kosovo- 30 July 2021
The defendant, Nasim Haradinaj, requested the recusal of top magistrates at The Kosovo Specialist Chambers, The Hague-based court, tasked with trying war crimes committed during the Kosovo war, accusing them of lacking independence and impartiality.
Albania – 3 August 2021
Albania and the United Kingdom have signed a revised agreement to allow the resumption of prisoner transfers from UK prisons to Albanian prisons. This is a step that could potentially affect more than 1,500 Albanians serving time in the UK. Albanian nationals account for the highest percentage of foreign national inmates in the UK at this moment.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 4 August 2021
The Herzegovina-Neretva Canton (HNC) Assembly finally took positive steps towards implementing the 2018 Judgement of the Federation of BiH Constitutional Court. The High Representative, Christian Schmidt, welcomes the decision of the HNC Assembly to amend its Constitution recognising the equality of the Serb people, the official status of Serb language and Cyrillic script in this canton, as well as recognising the Bosnian language.
Kosovo – 4 August 2021
Kosovo’s Finance Minister has announced the dismissal of Dardan Nuhiu, the head of the Financial Intelligence Unit, after he discussed plans to control the media for his own personal interests in leaked audio recordings.
Serbia – 4 August 2021
As Kosovo and Serbia seem miles apart from an agreement on the normalisation of relations, a Washington-based think tank says the international community should commit more efforts to help Serbia and Kosovo to reconcile their differences. The Wilson Center said that “re-energized US and EU support is necessary to realize the goal of independent, multi-ethnic states and societies co-existing peacefully in the Western Balkans”.
Montenegro – 5 August 2021
Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic called on the Serbian authorities to extradite the fugitive ex-president Svetozar Marovic, emphasising that his jail sentence expires under the statute of limitations in 2026, meaning that he would be free in five years.
Serbia – 5 August 2021
A former Yugoslav commander, Vladimir Lazarevic, convicted of crimes against humanity for ethnic cleansing against Kosovar Albanians, has been declared an honorary citizen by the town of Nis in southern Serbia. The tribute was supported by the municipal assembly controlled by the ruling national Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of President Aleksandar Vucic.