when Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic was removed from power, there has been a clear improvement in the human rights situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FR Yugoslavia). The major abuses of the Milosevic regime, including harassment of the political opposition and civic activists, restrictions on free expression, politically motivated trials, impunity for war crimes, and persecution of ethnic minorities, have decreased in frequency or disappeared altogether.
Despite these improvements, there remain serious human rights concerns that must be addressed in the context of the ongoing integration of the FR Yugoslavia into European structures, including the Council of Europe, the European Union (E.U.) Stabilization and Association Process (SAP), and the NATO Partnership for Peace, all of which maintain standards for respect for human rights applicable to all participating states (see Appendix on Human Rights Requirements for joining the Council of Europe, Partnership for Peace, and Stabilization and Association Process).
This briefing paper discusses four main areas of concern and puts forward recommendations for improvements that should be made in each, ahead of the accession of FR Yugoslavia to the Council of Europe and as a precondition for advanced negotiations on SAP and Partnership for Peace membership. Specifically, in the course of these processes, the authorities in Belgrade should make concrete progress in the following areas: cooperation with the international war crimes tribunal in the Hague; prosecution of war crimes before national courts; reducing and punishing police violence; and, ending discriminatory treatment of the Romani population.
Failure to Cooperate Fully with the War Crimes Tribunal
Progress on accountability has been slow, both with regard to the surrender of indictees to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the tribunal’s access to archives and witnesses in FR Yugoslavia. Where there has been cooperation, the authorities in Belgrade have presented it to the Serbian people as necessary only to avoid Yugoslavia's economic isolation, rather than as an expression of genuine commitment to uphold human rights and the rule of law on their merits and to act against their violation as a matter of principle.
The new authorities in Belgrade have transferred five ICTY indictees to the custody of the Hague tribunal; eight more indictees surrendered voluntarily. Seventeen indictees are believed still to be at large within FR Yugoslavia. In 2001, Serbian authorities surrendered to the Hague tribunal former president Slobodan Milosevic, Bosnian Serb Milomir Stakic, accused of genocide and war crimes against the non-Serb population in Prijedor municipality in 1992, and Bosnian Serb brothers Nenad and Predrag Banovic, accused of war crimes committed in 1992 in a detention camp near Prijedor. Blagoje Simic, another Bosnian Serb living in Serbia, surrendered himself to the tribunal under pressure from the Serbian government, as did retired General Pavle Strugar and former naval commander Miodrag Jokic, both of whom had been indicted for crimes committed in Dubrovnik in 1991. In the first half of 2002, only one individual, Bosnian Serb Ranko Cesic, accused of war crimes in a detention camp in Brcko in 1992, was arrested and transferred to the Hague. Five indictees surrendered voluntarily: Dragoljub Ojdanic and Nikola Sainovic, indicted for war crimes in Kosovo in 1999; Milan Martic, indicted for the cluster bomb shelling of civilian objects in Zagreb in 1995; Mile Mrksic, former Yugoslav Army commander accused of crimes against humanity for the alleged killing of at least 200 non-Serbs near the Croatian city of Vukovar in 1991; and Momcilo Gruban, a wartime shift commander in the Bosnian Serb-run prison camp near Prijedor.
On April 11, 2002, the Yugoslav parliament adopted a law on cooperation with the ICTY. Standing alone, the law does not fulfill Yugoslavia’s commitments to cooperate with the tribunal. Indeed, the law contains ambiguities and loopholes that could be manipulated to obstruct further cooperation. Without the actual transfer of indictees and of documents sought by the tribunal, the law means little.
The most objectionable aspect of the law on cooperation is the provision stating that it applies only to individuals against whom indictments had already been issued at the time it came into force. Such a limitation clearly contravenes Yugoslavia’s obligations under the Statute of the ICTY, which requires all U.N. member states to honor the ICTY’s indictments, no matter when they are issued.
In addition to this significant loophole, the law also contains a number of ambiguities regarding procedures for cooperation with the ICTY. The law on cooperation states that the proceedings it regulates shall be expeditious. However, the law does not set out specific time limits for the investigating judge and police to act. This has already delayed the transfer of indictees. In the first two months after the enactment of the law, five indictees voluntarily surrendered to the tribunal. In late April, the authorities issued arrest warrants for the seventeen other indictees. As of mid-June, however, only one has been arrested. On May 23, Federal Minister of Interior Zoran Zivkovic suggested that only five or six indictees might still be in FR Yugoslavia. However, on the same day the head of the investigative office of the Belgrade District Court told the media that there was no proof that any of the indictees had escaped from Yugoslavia. Zivkovic’s statement raises concern that the government is creating an excuse for future inaction with regard to arrests of indicted war criminals. The authorities should further define the law’s commitment to expeditious proceedings by specifying a clear timeline according to which cooperation proceedings will progress.
In another potential loophole, the law requires that the tribunal prosecutor’s work in Serbia and Montenegro conform to the rights of Yugoslav citizens, international standards, Yugoslav law, Yugoslav sovereignty, and national security interests. Human Rights Watch has warned against domestic authorities invoking these vague standards to impede the prosecutor’s work. Indeed, since the enactment of the law, the authorities in Belgrade have invoked national security interests to impede the prosecutor’s access to the archives.
At the end of May 2002 Serbian and Yugoslav officials hinted at the possibility that the Hague tribunal would be allowed access to Yugoslav archives for specific documents, but they emphasized that full access could not be granted. Federal Minister of Interior Zoran Zivkovic has said that documents that may threaten national security interests would be withheld. This position ignores tribunal rules that regulate the prosecutor’s access to files, providing states an opportunity to receive tribunal-ordered protection from disclosing documents that affect national security interests. The proper course, therefore, would be for the Yugoslav authorities to take their national security objection to the tribunal, and in accordance with the rule of law, let the judges decide whether national security concerns justify non-disclosure. To date, the obstacles to prosecutorial review of the archives have left Slobodan Milosevic and his associates in Belgrade with greater access to official files than the Office of the Prosecutor.
The government has also failed to assist the prosecutor in accessing potential tribunal witnesses. This failure has also had a damaging impact on the ongoing trial of Slobodan Milosevic, where the testimonies of the officials once close to the former president would help to illuminate the facts alleged in the indictment.
The government should amend the law on cooperation to eliminate its restriction to indictments issued before enactment of the law; the law must provide for cooperation with the ICTY regardless of the date of the indictment in question;
The government should take immediate steps to apprehend and transfer to the ICTY all remaining indictees at large on Yugoslav territory;
The authorities in Belgrade should take immediate steps to grant the ICTY full and unfettered access to requested documents in the possession of government ministries, including the Yugoslav Army, the Yugoslav Ministry of Interior, State Security, the Yugoslav Presidency, the Yugoslav cabinet, the Yugoslav Defense Ministry, the Serbian Presidency, and the Serbian cabinet. As a first step, the foregoing ministries should make an index of records and archives available to tribunal prosecutors and facilitate tribunal consultation with archivists so that the prosecutor can determine which documents are relevant to its on-going trials and investigations. In the cases of documents the Belgrade authorities deem to threaten national security interests, they should apply to the ICTY for a decision on whether disclosure is required, in accordance with Rule 54 bis;
The government should take immediate steps to facilitate ICTY access to potential witnesses;
The government should make a public, principled commitment to cooperate with the tribunal and its processes.
Failure to Prosecute War Criminals Domestically
Yugoslav and Serbian authorities have repeatedly expressed a preference for domestic war crimes trials over proceedings at the Hague tribunal. Indeed, the ICTY statute contemplates that where the tribunal deems appropriate, it may defer cases to competent national courts. Yet, while the Belgrade authorities appear rhetorically committed to domestic war crimes trials, there is scant evidence that they are prepared to follow through on this commitment. Hundreds of perpetrators of war crimes in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo live in the FR Yugoslavia, but only two war crimes trials have been held. In just one more case, the public prosecutor has filed an indictment against two suspects.
The failure to bring war crimes perpetrators to justice stems from a general reluctance on the part of the new government to address the abuses for which the previous regime was responsible. Government officials have done nothing to dispel the widely held belief in Serbia that crimes attributed to Serb forces—including in Dubrovnik (Croatia), Sarajevo and Srebrenica (Bosnia-Herzegovina), and Racak (Kosovo)—were staged by the forces fighting against the Serbs, or did not take place at all. Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica has accused the international war crimes tribunal in the Hague of being anti-Serb; other officials, more open to cooperation with the tribunal, portray cooperation as a task they perform against their will, in order to avoid the economic and political isolation of the country.
Such a stance by the authorities has encouraged the already hostile attitude in Serbia towards war crime trials of Serbs, whether these take place abroad or at home.
Between June and September 2001, the Serbian police exhumed five mass graves in Serbia, containing more than three hundred bodies thought to be Kosovo Albanians killed by the police and the army during the 1999 NATO bombardment. Serbian Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic confirmed in July 2001 that according to police estimates around 800 bodies were buried in mass graves at various locations in Serbia. Mihajlovic said police had taken statements of witnesses who claimed that the plans to remove these bodies had been arranged at secret meetings between former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic and former interior minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic. A year later, however, there has been essentially no progress in resolving these cases. No criminal proceedings have begun, and the authorities have not made available information on the identities of the victims or the circumstances in which they lost their lives.
The police and the public prosecutor have blamed each other for the slow progress. The police claim that they have provided evidence to the public prosecutor on those who organized the transport of the bodies from Kosovo to Serbia. The district prosecutor in Belgrade responded in April 2002 by saying that he would prosecute only the perpetrators of the killings and not those who were involved in the transport. He added that evidence regarding the perpetrators was still missing.
The first of the two domestic war crimes trials held so far is that of Nebojsa Ranisavljevic, accused of abducting and killing nineteen Yugoslav Muslims at a train station in Strpci (in the border area between FR Yugoslavia and Bosnia-Herzegovina) in 1993. The trial began in 1998 in Montenegro and has not yet been completed. On May 7, 2002, the Belgrade Rail Company submitted to the court documentation indicating that top military, police, and civilian officials of Serbia and Yugoslavia knew of the plan to abduct the Muslim passengers from the train and took no steps to prevent it. Following the disclosure of this information in May, there has been no indication that an investigation would be launched.
On April 19, 2002, the district court in Prokuplje indicted Ivan Nikolic, a former soldier in the Yugoslav army, for the killing of two Kosovo Albanian civilians in May 1999. Nikolic had previously been charged with murder, but the prosecutor in Prokuplje amended the indictment to include war crimes charges. The Yugoslav media have reported on anonymous death threats received by the prosecutor since he indicted Nikolic for war crimes. The trial opened on June 11, 2002; during the first day of the trial, a war veterans’ association staged a protest in front of the court. On July 8, the court found Nikolic guilty and sentenced him to eight years in prison.
At the beginning of April 2002 the prosecutor in Prokuplje indicted Sasa Cvjetan and Dejan Demirovic on war crimes charges. The two reservists in the anti-terrorist unit of the Serbian police were accused of killing nineteen Kosovo Albanian civilians in Podujevo in March 1999.
The Serbian government should take an unequivocal public position that trials for war crimes are a fundamental aspect of the rule of law and the principle of justice and a basic moral obligation owed to the victims;
The prosecutorial offices should apply existing law and promptly and determinedly initiate war crimes proceedings where available facts indicate that war crimes may have been committed;
The Ministry of Interior and other agencies should fully cooperate with investigative judges in the conduct of criminal investigations into well-documented cases of war crimes committed by the police and the paramilitaries in Kosovo in 1998-99; the information contained in the ICTY indictments and in credible reports by Yugoslav and international human rights groups should be used to prioritize the investigations.
The new Serbian government has not used police violence against the political opposition, but police abuses against ordinary citizens are still commonplace. Serbia has not carried out personnel changes in the police force essential to making a clear break from the practices of the former regime. Neither of the two constituent republics (Serbia and Montenegro) has in place mechanisms for civilian oversight of law enforcement.
The Serbian Ministry of Interior has either ignored allegations of police torture and ill-treatment made in the media and human rights reports, or claimed that it had no knowledge of the alleged events. In the five known court decisions since October 2000 dealing with excessive use of force, law enforcement officers found guilty received sentences of less than six months in prison. Most recently, on June 13, 2002, the Vrsac municipal court handed down a suspended sentence of two months of imprisonment to two police officers whom it found guilty of torturing a man in November 2000; also, on July 8, 2002, a court in Belgrade sentenced two policemen to three months in prison for torture of a Romani man in May 1998.
The Belgrade Center for Human Rights registered cases of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment in ten cities in Serbia during 2001. The following summaries of cases reported in the first three months of 2002 by the Belgrade-based Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), suggest that the trend has continued unabated in 2002:
On March 1, 2002, six policemen broke up a birthday party in Belgrade after being alerted by neighbors about loud music at the party. The police severely beat three participants, including Nemanja Jovic (twenty-three), whose eardrum burst from the beating. The police then took Milan Milovanovic (twenty-three) in a car and drove to the woods. During the drive, the officers reportedly slapped Milovanovic and struck him on his sides with their elbows about a dozen times. In the woods, they kneed Milovanovic in the head several times.
On February 26, 2002, two police inspectors in Smederevo allegedly tortured Vladimir Radojicic (twenty-nine) on the premises of the Smederevo police station, using electric shocks and forced him to admit to stealing automobiles. A Serbian Ministry of Interior working group investigating the case concluded that Radojicic was injured during the arrest, but refused to acknowledge that Radojicic had been tortured;
On February 24, 2002, officers of the New Belgrade police station allegedly unlawfully detained and ill-treated fifty-one-year-old Miroslav Gajic, a painter from Belgrade. The incident began when two policemen came to Gajic's apartment on February 18 and asked him to produce a certificate saying that a magistrate had questioned him about a breach of public law and order. Gajic did not have the certificate and offered instead a document signed and stamped by the municipal magistrate. Just after midnight on February 24, another two police officers came to Gajic's apartment and told him to dress because they were taking him to the magistrate. On arrival at the police station, the officers took his shoelaces and belt, locked Gajic in a solitary confinement cell of about ten square meters without a window or any kind of ventilation. There were pools of urine on the floor and the walls were streaked with excrement and blood. He reported being held there for eight hours, all of which he spent on his feet as there was no chair or bench. The next morning, the magistrate apparently apologized to Gajic and said he had been unlawfully detained;
On February 9, 2002, five policemen in Novi Sad allegedly brutally beat eighteen-year-old Marko Brkic. Brkic was drinking beer with a group of friends in a nuclear fallout shelter in Novi Sad when an Intervention Police vehicle approached at top speed. The youngsters were frightened and ran away although they had not committed any breach of law. When one of the policemen fired two shots in the air, Brkic stopped running. Four other policemen then walked up to Brkic and began to beat him. Later that night, Brkic was admitted to the Emergency Hospital Center, where doctors established that he had a contusion of the ribs; and
On December 31, 2001, three police officers in Tutin reportedly inflicted serious bodily harm to Murat Pepic. The officers intervened when a fight broke out in a Tutin cafe. They threw Pepic out on the street and beat him with the butt of a pistol and a nightstick. Pepic was hospitalized in Novi Pazar and at the Belgrade Emergency Treatment Center for several days because of injuries to his head, kidneys, and ribs.
FR Yugoslavia has not to date introduced a provision into its criminal law specifically defining torture as criminal offense, in spite of the recommendations of the United Nations Committee against Torture of November 1998.
The new federal Criminal Procedure Act, which entered into force on March 28, 2002, obligates the police to provide an arrested person with immediate access to a lawyer. The police must also immediately inform the investigating judge about the arrest, and the judge may request to see the detained person at once.
These provisions are expected to prevent arbitrary and excessive use of force by the police. However, the climate of impunity inherited from the previous regime and barely confronted by the current government raises doubts about the immediate implementation of these new rules.
The authorities should end the practice of denying outright the occurrence of police violence and promptly launch criminal investigations when allegations are made, including by human rights groups;
Federal criminal law should be amended to define torture as a criminal offense;
The Serbian Ministry of Interior should undertake a vetting procedure and dismiss law enforcement officials found to have committed human rights abuses and humanitarian law violations under the government of Slobodan Milosevic;
Both republics should strictly enforce their laws on internal affairs that provide for disciplinary proceedings and sanctions for law enforcement officials who abuse their powers;
All police and other law enforcement personnel should receive human rights awareness training and be specifically instructed that they must comply with the requirements of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
Violations of the Rights of Roma
Since the change of government in October 2000, the authorities in Belgrade have enacted a law that recognizes the Romani population as a national minority, and they have increased the use of the Romani language in state television and radio programs. However, police brutality against Roma continues to be common, and discrimination in various fields of public life remains widespread.
Recent instances of police violence against Roma, including minors, registered by the Humanitarian Law Center include the following:
On June 29, 2002, two Romani minors, fourteen-year-old Ljuvica Ristic and thirteen-year-old Dragan Stancic, were reportedly physically and verbally abused by a police officer in Belgrade. The children were washing the windshields of cars stopped at a busy intersection in the city when a police car with two officers drove up to them. The officer who had been driving got out of the car began yelling at the children, and punched Stancic in the face, causing his lip to crack. The same officer then allegedly proceeded to swear at Ljuvica and slapped and punched her on the cheek. A number of other Romani children witnessed the assaults from a nearby café.
On September 22, 2001, a police patrol physically abused a group of Romani children who were collecting waste paper in central Novi Sad. A girl of twelve was struck repeatedly on the head with a Motorola telephone and a policeman cursed her "Shiptar [a derogatory term for Albanians] mother." E.M., a fourteen-year-old boy, was severely beaten and had his arm broken. Novi Sad Police Chief Major Sasa Adamovic stated in October 2001 that an inquiry into the incident "brought out no involvement of members of the police force in the beating of the minor E.M."
A twelve-year-old Romani boy was beaten at the Belgrade Police Department on June 21, 2001. Failing to learn any details about a theft allegedly committed by the boy's brother, the inspector investigating the case proceeded to slap and hit him on the head, and beat him on the palms and back with a nightstick;
Nenad Filipovic was beaten by unidentified police officers in Kragujevac on May 26, 2001, first in the street, in the presence of his children, and then at the local police station. An asthmatic, Filipovic reportedly spent five hours handcuffed to a banister at the police station and was not allowed to use his inhalator when he suffered a strong attack;
On May 7, 2001, three police officers in Backa Topola ill-treated and uttered racial slurs against two Romani villagers, Stevan Brancic (thirty-eight) and Sasa Gojkov (twenty-eight). The officers apparently attempted to force the victims to confess to a theft;
On March 5, 2001, four policemen beat and uttered racial insults against Miroslav Milic, a Romani teenager from Belgrade;
Police in Leskovac detained Daka Zekic, a seventy-six-year-old Romani man for two days in January 2001, deprived him of food and water, and subjected him to beatings and racial insults.
Thousands of Romani families live in makeshift settlements in the vicinity of towns, left to survive without electricity, running water, or sewers. In some Belgrade municipalities foreign donors were forced to withdraw their donations for the construction of housing for Roma because the authorities refused to provide the construction lot with utilities on which the housing could be built. In a case in Pozarevac, Swiss Disaster Relief withdrew its donation for a pre-fabricated building in which Roma children could attend preparatory classes for primary schools because the local authorities failed to allocate a lot for the building.
The position of displaced Roma from Kosovo has been particularly difficult because this group has suffered from both the lack of housing and police abuse. Their children do not have medical insurance and depend on the goodwill of doctors for care and treatment.
Roma displaced from Kosovo are also particularly vulnerable to arbitrary evictions from their makeshift homes, while the authorities have failed to provide them with alternative accommodation. In April 2002, six Kosovo Romani families who lived in wrecked cars and makeshift shelters in the Autokomanda neighborhood of Belgrade were forcefully evicted. A similar attempt by the Belgrade Building Land and Construction Bureau to evict nine Romani families, most of whom were displaced from Kosovo, from a settlement in the New Belgrade district was halted as a result of an intervention by the OSCE office in Belgrade and the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
On June 12, 2001, at 5:00 a.m., two police officers stormed into the Novi Sad home of a Romani family displaced from Kosovo. A mother of four, her young children, as well as her sister were in the apartment at the time of the intrusion. One of the officers slapped and pulled the hair of the mother while asking where her husband was. The same officer punched her sister in the head and face, giving her a nosebleed, pulled at her clothing and kicked her. The officers forced the half-dressed women and children into a police car and allowed them to return to their apartment only upon their neighbors’ insistence.
In addition to violent abuse and harassment on the part of law enforcement authorities, Roma also continue to suffer widespread discrimination in all fields of public life, including in education, housing, employment, health care, and access to public goods and services. Denial of access for Roma to privately owned restaurants and sports facilities in FR Yugoslavia is also commonplace. Although public prosecutors are duty bound to prosecute such cases ex officio, they routinely dismiss discrimination complaints or simply fail to take any action to address them. The lack of willingness on the part of the justice system to pursue cases of discrimination against Roma in FR Yugoslavia is further compounded by the absence of comprehensive legislation prohibiting discrimination and providing adequate remedies for breach thereof. The legal prohibitions against discrimination that do exist in Yugoslav law do not provide for effective remedies and are rarely, if ever, invoked.
The government should ensure that reports of police violence against Roma are investigated promptly and impartially, and that those found responsible for the abuses are brought to justice;
The government should adopt effective measures to prevent and punish manifestations of racial bias in the justice system, including by arranging for training of police, prosecutors, and judges, to educate them in binding international law prohibiting racial and other forms of discrimination, and its applicability in domestic fora;
The government should ensure that Roma, including those displaced from Kosovo, are not evicted from their makeshift homes, and seek to provide adequate alternative accommodation, in close consultation with the Roma themselves;
The government should conduct systematic monitoring of access of Roma and other minorities to education, housing, employment, health care, and social services, and establish a mechanism for collecting ethnic data with the view to combating discrimination in these fields;
The government should adopt a comprehensive body of legislation prohibiting ethnic, racial and other forms of discrimination in all fields of public life and providing effective civil, criminal and administrative remedies for breach thereof, and establish an effective enforcement, empowered both legally and through the provision of adequate resources to effectively secure full compliance with the new law.
Human Rights Requirements for Joining the Council of Europe, the European Union Stabilization and Association Process, and the NATO Partnership for Peace
Council of Europe
“Any European state can become a member of the Council of Europe provided it accepts the principle of the rule of law and guarantees human rights and fundamental freedoms to everyone under its jurisdiction.” (see here)
“The conditions for membership are pluralistic democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. Only those countries, which fulfill these criteria, can accede.” (see here)
The report entitled “The conformity of the legal order of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with the Council of Europe standards,” AS/Bur/Yugoslavia (2001) 1, available here, states that the following “most important measures” are necessary before the country can join the Council of Europe. These measures, quoted verbatim, include:
Complete abolition of capital punishment
Amendment of the legal provisions governing the use of lethal force and firearms and new training, for the police and armed forces, with a view to preserving life
Investigation of serious crimes dating from the recent past and cooperation with the ICTY
Reform concerning all forms of deprivation of liberty, including those that are outside of the scope of criminal law
Adoption of new legislation on minorities and of a program of re-integration into State bodies of persons belonging to the Albanian and other minorities
Strengthening of the role of the courts in the protection of human rights.
On July 2, Parliamentary Assembly President Peter Schieder handed to the government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia a list of commitments that it must be “determined to honour” following its accession to the Council of Europe. This list (available here) included:
Ratification of the Dayton Peace agreements and full and effective cooperation in their implementation;
Signature and ratification of a number of key Council of Europe instruments, including the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
Domestic legal reform, including the adoption of legislation bringing the army under civilian control and legislation on the reform of the police that implements the European Code of Police Ethics, establishes training structures, and reorganizes the secret police and submits it to governmental and parliamentary control;
Continued cooperation with the ICTY, in particular the obligation to apprehend and extradite all the indictees who remain at large, provide witness protection when required, instruct the police and prosecutors to make immediate arrests to remedy the shortcomings in the law on extradition in this respect, revise the law on co-operation with the ICTY in accordance with the Statute of the ICTY and the relevant UN Security Council Resolution, and make documents and archives, including military documents and archives, available to the ICTY without further delay;
Cooperation with a view to establishing the facts concerning the fate of missing persons and provision of all information concerning mass graves; and
Continued reforms with respect to the independence and impartiality of the judiciary and the relationship between judges, prosecutors and the police.
European Union Stabilization and Association Process (SAP)
The E.U. Council Conclusions of April 29, 1997 stated that “to permit the beginning of negotiations, the following general conditions shall apply to all countries concerned [Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FRY, FYROM, and Albania]:
1. Credible offer to and a visible implementation of real opportunities for displaced persons (including so called “internal migrants”) and refugees to return to their places of origin, and absence of harassment initiated or tolerated by public authorities;
2. Readmission of nationals of the States concerned who are present illegally in the territory of a Member State of the EU;
3. Compliance of the countries that are signatories of the GFAP [General Framework Agreement for Peace] with the obligations under the peace agreements, including those related to cooperation with the International Tribunal in bringing war criminals to justice;
4. A credible commitment to engage in democratic reforms and to comply with the generally recognized standards of human and minority rights.
5. Holding of free and fair elections at reasonable intervals on the basis of universal and equal suffrage of adult citizens by secret ballot, and full and proper implementation of the results of these elections;
6. Absence of generally discriminatory treatment and harassment of minorities by public authorities;
7. Absence of discriminatory treatment and harassment of independent media;
8. Implementation of first steps of economic reform (privatization program, abolition of certain price controls);
9. Proven readiness to enter into good neighborly and cooperative relations with its neighbors.
10. Compatibility of RS/FRY as well as the Federation/Croatia agreements with the Dayton Peace Agreements.”
The Annex to the Conclusions specifies the “[e]lements for the examination of compliance” with “human rights” and “rule of law” as follows:
Freedom of expression, including independent media
Freedom of of assembly and demonstration
Freedom of association
Right to privacy, family, home, and correspondence
Right to property
Effective means of redress against administrative decisions
Access to courts and right to fair trial
Equality before the law and equal protection by the law
Freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment and arbitrary arrest.
In the area of “respect for and protection of minorities,” the Annex specifies the following “elements” for compliance:
Right to establish and maintain their own educational, cultural and religious institutions, organizations or associations
Adequate opportunities for these minorities to use their own language before courts and public authorities
Adequate protection of refugees and displaced persons returning to areas where they represent an ethnic minority.
Most recently, the Stabilization and Association Report for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Commission of the European Communities, Commission Staff Working Paper 2002) outlined priority areas needing attention in the next 12 months, which included:
"Existing good cooperation between Belgrade and Pristina, including within the competencies of the provisional institutions of self-government, should continue and develop. Parallel Serbian institutions and jurisdictions in Kosovo must, however, be dismantled. All parts of the FRY should be aiming for compatibility with European—E.U. and Council of Europe—standards.
Army reform—including security policy, the role of the army and secret services, civilian control, general modernization/restructuring, and budgetary issues, in line with the proposals by the Geneva Centre for Control of Armed Forces—should be under way by the end of 2002. Reform of the security and police services should continue, transforming them into a service, adopting the Council of Europe's Police Code of Ethics, bringing them under clear internal and external control and improving coordination between the various services and with other state services. State security and law enforcement agencies must be separated. Prisons must be urgently brought in line with Council of Europe standards. The demilitarization of borders should be put into effect at the earliest opportunity. The principle of conscientious objection should be safeguarded and implemented.
Steps should be taken to ensure the implementation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The findings of the Council of Europe compatibility study should become a cornerstone of human rights throughout the FRY, with implementation under way by the end of 2002. The European Convention on Human Rights should be ratified. Outstanding issues—democratic or technical—regarding media should be completely resolved by mid-2002. Coordination should be established between all Ombudspersons. Appropriate revisions of academic textbooks—particularly history and geography—should be completed before the end of the 2001-2 academic year. Outstanding issues regarding NGO status and political or religious association should be resolved by mid-2002, in line with Council of Europe recommendations. Anti-discrimination laws should be adopted and implemented. The death penalty, including with application to already delivered judgments, should be abolished in Montenegro. Legislation on minority rights, including relevant changes to Criminal and other Codes in line with the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (in force September 2001), should be urgently adopted and implemented.
Cooperation with ICTY should improve. Indictees should be surrendered to the Hague—including and particularly those currently holding elected office or military positions. There should also be full cooperation on investigations, access to evidence (witnesses, documents, archives—particularly military) and, if a law is still considered necessary, it should be adopted immediately.
UNSCR 1244, and the Common Document of November 2001, should be fully implemented. Review of the cases of all Kosovo Albanian prisoners should be completed, and the agreed transfers implemented by spring 2002 at the latest.”
NATO’s Partnership for Peace
The framework document (available here ), which is signed by all member countries, states that:
“In joining the Partnership, the member States of the North Atlantic Alliance and the other States subscribing to this Document recall that they are committed to the preservation of democratic societies, their freedom from coercion and intimidation, and the maintenance of the principles of international law.
They reaffirm their commitment to fulfill in good faith the obligations of the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights; specifically, to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, to respect existing borders and to settle disputes by peaceful means. They also reaffirm their commitment to the Helsinki Final Act and all subsequent CSCE documents and to the fulfillment of the commitments and obligations they have undertaken in the field of disarmament and arms control.”