Inadmissible attempt to affirm genocide and war crimes

Human  Rights Action (HRA) and Centre for Civic Education (CCE) strongly condemn the scandalous proposal of the members of the Municipality of Berane Council to name a street in that city after Ratko Mladic. We fiercely oppose the idea of ​​naming any street, building or anything in Montenegro after those convicted of mass-murder and torture of thousands of children and people.

We urge the Municipal Assembly of Berane not to endorse this initiative and to prevent the denial of verdicts of the international war crimes tribunals through such provocations, and thus dangerously provoke national and religious hatred. In particular, we point out that the proposal itself committed the criminal offense of Provoking Ethnic, Racial and Religious Hatred under Article 370 Paragraph 2 of the Criminal Code of Montenegro, because it publicly approves, denies the existence or significantly reduces the gravity of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes determined by final judgment of the International Criminal Tribunal. In that part, we call on the Prosecutor’s Office to process this case.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ), as well as the courts in the Netherlands and Bosnia and Herzegovina, have already been determined in several final judgements that genocide was committed in Srebrenica. As the commander of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS), Mladic was convicted in the first instance for genocide in Srebrenica and other crimes, and it is expected that the verdict will soon become final. Before him, Radovan Karadzic (former President of Republika Srpska (RS)) and Mladic’s subordinates Ljubisa Beara (Head of Security of the VRS Main Staff), Zdravko Tolimir (former Assistant Commander for Intelligence and Security of the VRS Main Staff), Radislav Krstic (former VRS General) and Drago Nikolic (Chief of Security for the Zvornik Brigade) were convicted for that crime. On the eve of the Srebrenica massacre, Mladic proudly stated publicly that the time has come to „take revenge on the Turks of this region“.

The former commander of the Army of Republika Srpska, Ratko Mladic, was convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war by a Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (Hague Tribunal) and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017. An appeal proceeding is being conducted before the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT), on the appeals of both the defense and the prosecutor against that verdict, and a second-instance verdict is expected in May this year.

The judges established that Mladic was responsible for killing about 8,000 Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) in Srebrenica, the youngest of whom was only 11 years old, for the persecution of civilians, Muslims and Croats, throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, for shelling and sniping Sarajevo citizens for three and a half years, as well as for hostage-taking of UN personnel. He was convicted in the first instance for ten of the eleven counts of the indictment. He was acquitted of the charge of genocide in six municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina during ’92. (Prijedor, Sanski Most, Kljuc, Kotor Varos, Foca and Vlasenica).

HRA and CCE call on all political and social actors to strongly condemn this proposal and to work within their competencies and capacities so that such cases do not happen again.

Tea Gorjanc Prelević
Executive director, Human Rights Action (HRA)

Daliborka Uljarević
Executive director, Centre for Civic Education (CCE)