Commissioner Mijatovic: Regional states to depoliticise war crimes

Source: Ilustracija

Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, recalled the 1995 Tuzlanska Kapija massacre which left 71 dead and 130 injured, on Monday, saying it is important to remember the victims, but that it is not enough – the victims and their families deserve justice.

„Regrettably, justice is still hindered in the region by a lack of political will to fight against impunity for wartime crimes, and by increased efforts to undermine the results achieved so far. Denial of wartime crimes, falsification of the facts established by the ICTY and the glorification of war criminals have become serious obstacles to this fight,“ she wrote in her statement.

A quarter of a century after the Tuzla massacre, she said, not all those responsible for it have faced trial.

„Like many other war criminals in the region, they hide behind the refusal of some countries to extradite their nationals who are charged with war crimes or to co-operate in other ways,“ Mijatovic said.

Commissioner Mijatovic pointed to the Novak Djukic case as most egregious, noting that he was convicted by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina for ordering the Tuzla attack, and five years after his condemnation he is still free in Serbia because the sentence against him has not yet been enforced.

„This is a slap in the face of the victims of the Tuzla massacre and blatant disrespect by Serbia of its international human rights obligations,“ she stressed.

„It is time that countries in the region depoliticise wartime crimes and pay more attention to the needs of the survivors and of the victims’ families. Ensuring justice for past crimes must be one of the top political priorities in the region,“ the Human Rights Commissioner concluded.