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EC: The glorification of war criminals in Serbia continues without consequences

EC: The glorification of war criminals in Serbia continues without consequences

The European Commission, through a non-paper sent to the EU member states regarding Serbia's fulfillment of the criteria for chapters 23 and 24 of the membership negotiations, has pointed out that at higher levels, in Serbia, criminals continue to be glorified without consequences. prisoners of war and they are given public and political space.

These two chapters include the rule of law and fundamental rights. The fulfillment of the transitional criteria within chapters 23 and 24 are prerequisites for Serbia to close any other chapter in the negotiation process, therefore, it is regularly reported on the progress made in their fulfillment.

In this report, it is concluded that Serbia has taken some steps to meet the criteria, but it is emphasized that there is still work to be done to create the political will to deepen the reforms, to address the deficiencies in key areas such as the judiciary, the fight against corruption and organized crime. , freedom of the media and the prosecution of war crimes cases.

Recalling Serbia's obligations to cooperate on war crimes with the International Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague, after this mechanism has taken over the continuation of some trials by the Tribunal for War Crimes in the former Yugoslavia, the report said that Serbia has not full cooperation with this court. In particular, the report pointed out that there is a lack of cooperation in cases of arrests of persons accused of obstruction of justice. Also, it was mentioned that Serbian officials often question the decisions of the court in The Hague for war crimes and glorify criminals convicted of war crimes.

"A number of political party figures in Serbia, including at the level of ministers, continue to provide support and public space for convicted war criminals. Convicted war criminals continue to spread hate speech in the public space. "Certain politicians continue to deny the genocide in Srebrenica, without consequence," the report said.

During the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995, Serb soldiers and police killed more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys and buried their bodies in mass graves. This event has been described as the worst atrocity in Europe since the end of the Second World War, and the International Court of The Hague has recognized it as genocide.

The European Commission's report also mentioned Serbia's cooperation with neighboring countries in cases of war crimes and the exchange of certain evidence. It was said there that the cooperation with Croatia and Kosovo has not brought the right results.

The report emphasized that Serbia has failed to include financial compensation for victims of war crimes in criminal proceedings.

"Civilian victims of war and abuses of their rights remain neglected in political, social and economic terms. The dynamics of the trial of war crimes cases in Serbia has slowed down significantly in recent years. A real commitment to address these cases, including high-ranking suspects, must be ensured," the report said./ REL

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