Fair is fair ... where there is bad news, sooner or later there is also good news, and that, then, should be mentioned too.
Especially if all you need to do is copy and paste an email you already wrote at work.
Last December didn't just bring the arrest of [long-sought Croatian war criminal] Ante Gotovina in Tenerife -- I was also struck by a succession of articles about war crimes trials within Croatia and especially Serbia itself
, which seemingly are really getting into gear.
Collated below are summaries of news items on five of those trials, three focusing on war crimes in Vukovar, Zvornik and Lovas respectively, and two separate cases (in Serbia and Croatia) on the videotaped slaughter of 6 Muslims in Srebrenica; then further below are also three items on Gotovina's arrest.
Life in Serbia and especially Bosnia may not exactly be rosy; progress is troubled. But when it comes to processing the recent past, I'd never have dared hope for a string of war crimes trials within Serbia itself, just ten years after the end of the Bosnian war.
Landmark war crimes trial under way in Serbia
2005/12/28 · Southeast European Times
The trial of six men charged with war crimes committed in the Bosnian town of Zvornik in 1992 marks the first time a case has been transferred from the UN war crimes tribunal to a Serbian court. Branko Grujic, the former mayor of Zvornik has been charged in connection with the slayings of at least 22 Muslims and the expulsion of 1,822 others. Charged alongside him are former territorial defence commander Branko Popovic and four members of the Yellow Hornets paramilitary gang. According to the indictment, Grujic and Popovic failed to prevent the Hornets from carrying out a campaign of murder, rape and abuse against Muslim civilians after Serb forces took Zvornik in April 1992. The local SDS leadership, aided by paramilitaries, conducted a systematic campaign of deportations and property confiscation against the Muslim population in the town and surrounding villages. A major concern is the possibility that journalists might reveal the identities of protected witnesses, as recently happened in Croatia.
Court sentences Vukovar war crimes convicts
2005/12/13 · Southeast European Times
The Belgrade District Court's War Crimes Council has reached its first verdict since its founding in 2003, sentencing 14 people found guilty of war crimes against Croats in 1991 to a total of 231 years in prison. The suspects were on trial for the summary execution of Croatian prisoners, who were taken to the Ovcara farm outside Vukovar and shot to death after the town fell to Serb forces. All of the indictees were members of the Serb armed units in Croatia, under the command of the former Yugoslav People's Army.
Inquiry into Lovas war crimes case under way in Serbia
2005/11/29 · Southeast European Times
Serbian war crimes prosecutors are working with counterparts in Croatia to investigate 1991 atrocities in the Croatian village of Lovas, where some 24 civilians were killed when the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) ordered them to walk through a minefield. On 10 October 1991, JNA soldiers, local territorial defence units and the "Dusan Silni" paramilitary group attacked Lovas, killing 30 residents. They then reportedly subjected its non-Serb population to forced labour, torture and rape. Many of the perpetrators are said to remain at large in Serbia.
Croatian court jails former paramilitary member over Srebrenica killings
2005/12/30 · Southeast European Times
The Zagreb County Court sentenced a Croatian Serb to 15 years in prison for his participation in the killing of six unarmed Bosnian Muslims near Srebrenica in 1995 and for torturing Croatian prisoners in 1991. Slobodan Davidovic was arrested in June after television stations across the former Yugoslavia broadcast a videotape showing members of a Serb paramilitary police unit cold-bloodedly killing six young, unarmed Bosnian Muslims from Srebrenica. The footage prompted the arrests in Serbia of five other former members of the paramilitary unit. The Serbian authorities wanted to try Davidovic along with the other suspects, but as a Croatian citizen he could not be extradited. Therefore, the Zagreb County Court took up his case. The 15-year prison sentence Davidovic received includes a nine-year term for the October 1991 torture of Croatian Army soldiers in a makeshift prison.
Serb Says He Followed Orders in Killings
2005/12/21 · The Guardian
A Serb militiamen, on trial in the videotaped killings of Bosnian Muslim civilians in Srebrenica, admitted shooting but said he was following orders. The landmark trial opened Tuesday, after the June broadcast of a 1995 video showing six people being taken from a truck, their hands bound, and then sprayed with machine gun fire. Pero Petrasevic said that the commander of the "Scorpions" paramilitary unit, Slobodan Medic, ordered the killings and demanded that they be videotaped, so Medic could show the video to his superiors, who ultimately ordered the slaying. Medic told the court Wednesday that his unit was under the command of a Bosnian Serb general, but he denied ordering to shoot the Muslims and added that if he had known the video would become public, he would have "killed like a rabbit" the soldier who filmed it. As many as 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed when Serb troops overran Srebrenica.
Serbian party urges determined action to arrest Mladic
2005/12/19 · Southeast European Times
In the wake of a damning report on Belgrade's co-operation with the UN war crimes tribunal, a party in Serbia's ruling coalition is urging determined action to arrest Mladic. "This is the last moment for all democratic forces to assume full responsibility for the future of Serbia," stated the SPO of Serbia-Montenegrin Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic. "We must send a clear message [..] that all suspects will soon end up in The Hague." The call followed UN war crimes prosecutor del Ponte's description of Serbia's co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague as having deteriorated in recent months. According to Nenad Cenak of the League of the Social Democrats of Vojvodina, Serbian Prime Minister Kostunica is to blame. "It is not complicated to find and deliver Ratko Mladic," he said. "The problem is that Vojislav Kostunica does not dare extradite Mladic" because it is not in his "political interest".
Croatian fugitive general seized
2005/12/08 · BBC News
A Croatian general charged with war crimes has been arrested in Spain, the UN's chief war crimes prosecutor says. Ante Gotovina - the third most-wanted suspect from the Balkan wars - is accused over the death of about 150 Serb civilians during a Croatian offensive in 1995. The indictment also accuses him of co-ordinating a campaign of plunder and looting throughout operations in ethnically Serb areas of the region. The Croatian government's failure to arrest the general had hampered the country's entry talks with the EU. Croatian PM Sanader said that "those who believed us when we said that Gotovina was not in Croatia have today received the final and complete confirmation."
Top Croatian War Crimes Suspect in Custody
2005/12/08 · BIRN Balkan Insight
The arrest of general Gotovina, announced today by the ICTY's chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, was received in Croatia with relief that the Gotovina saga was finally over. One source said he was delighted because the arrest meant Croatia's security services were finally under civil control. The hunt for the fugitive moved into high gear in the autumn. With hours to go before the start of the October meeting where EU leaders would consider whether to open accession talks with Croatia, Del Ponte received confirmation that Gotovina had been located, so she told the leaders that Croatia was now "cooperating fully". At the time, her claim was greeted with scepticism; many suggested she had changed her position under pressure. Since its creation, the ICTY has issued 161 indictments. Just six fugitives remain at large, all Serbs, including Karadzic and Mladic. Today Del Ponte said she intended to give a negative assessment of Serbia's cooperation with the tribunal at the next session of the Security Council.
Croat war crimes suspect heads for Hague: source
2005/12/09 · ABC News
Croatian General Gotovina will leave a Madrid jail for The Hague war crimes court on Friday, it was said. Spanish Interior Minister Alonso said Gotovina had travelled through Asia, Latin America and Europe before police tracked him down in Tenerife. He had 12,000 euros in cash and two false passports filled with visa stamps "from Tahiti, Argentina, China, Chile, Russia, Czech Republic, and the last stamp is from the island of Mauritius." Croatia presented evidence of Gotovina's stay in Spain to chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor del Ponte when she visited Zagreb in September.