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Human Rights Watch Memorandum on the Western Balkans

Prepared for EU Foreign Ministers’ informal meeting

Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to highlight a

number of pressing concerns pertaining to the Western Balkans in advance of the

informal Gymnich meeting of EU foreign ministers in Salzburg on March 10-11,

during which relations with the countries of the region will be discussed.

Below we provide a summary overview of these concerns, structured along three

broad themes – Kosovo, accountability for war crimes throughout the region, and

concerns in areas other than war crimes accountability in two of the countries

(Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro) – and offer a number of concrete suggestions

for specific steps the EU should take to address them.1


Status negotiations

Despite recent progress toward resolving the future status

of Kosovo, with the first of a series of discussions between Belgrade and

Pristina beginning just a few weeks ago, the human rights situation in the

province remains bleak. This conclusion is underscored by the comprehensive

review of the situation in Kosovo carried out by the U.N. Secretary-General’s

Special Envoy Kai Eide in October 2005, as well as the more recent report by

the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the international administration in Kosovo, submitted in January 2006. In the latter report, the Secretary-General

makes the disturbing observation that despite progress on status preparations,

there were “delays or setbacks in most areas of standards implementation.”

Current human rights concerns in Kosovo include impunity and

access to justice, and the protection of minorities, including the return of

displaced persons and refugees to their homes. It is crucial that these human

rights concerns and overall progress on standards implementation are at the

heart of the status negotiations. The European Union and its member states have

a crucial role to play in ensuring a success of the negotiations, and the

measure of that success must include progress on these critical issues.

It is also of paramount importance that EU member states

remain committed to ensuring that the international community and the national

provisional institutions of self-government (PISG) adhere to their fundamental

human rights commitments. This will require sustained diplomatic and financial

investment in the future of Kosovo, regardless of its political status.

Impunity and access to justice

While the challenges in establishing a new justice system in

Kosovo are considerable, progress to date has been disappointing. The failure

to bring to justice many of those responsible for serious crimes has created a

climate of impunity that recent efforts have done little to change. Shortcomings

in the justice system include: a growing backlog of cases; shortage of

qualified judges; virtually nonexistent mechanisms for witness protection and

relocation; poorly-trained and inadequately supported investigators and

prosecutors; inadequate defense counsel; perceptions of bias by local judges;

and problematic sentencing practices. The problems embedded in the justice

system are further exacerbated by the poor quality and tardiness of police

investigations. These problems affect all communities living in Kosovo,

undermining confidence in the criminal justice system and the rule of law as a


The poor record on prosecuting war crimes and post-war

inter-ethnic and political violence also persists. The criminal justice

response to the March 2004 violence is an excellent case in point. While at

first the figures would appear to indicate a dramatic improvement in the

numbers of prosecutions as compared to those relating to war crimes – almost

450 cases as compared to less than two dozen – the reality is that most of them

were for minor offences, with only around half completed two years later. Where

adjudicated, cases often resulted in the imposition of only minor penalties or

fines, at times below minimum sentencing guidelines.  

The problems with the criminal justice system are mirrored

in Kosovo’s civil courts. An extreme case backlog (up to 60,000 according to

some estimates), limited access to the courts for ethnic minorities, and

failure to implement court decisions, are among the chief obstacles that


Our research also indicates that there are no case

management or tracking systems in place, with the exception of a few relatively

new pilot projects. A previously designed databasing system remains

unimplemented in the local courts, while international judges track their

involvement in cases through a separate system. There is inadequate oversight

over the local judiciary. As a result of these deficiencies, it is unclear what

the real backlog is, how long it takes to adjudicate cases, and whether there

are particular patterns of case management or adjudication that require


The ability of prosecutors, both local and international, to

effectively participate in the judicial process is also cause for concern. They

face similar case management challenges as the judiciary, frequently find

themselves having to adjust their work according to changing political

priorities, and are chronically understaffed and under-resourced. Another

problem stems from the strict separation between local and international

prosecutors, with the latter retaining jurisdictional power to take over

certain sensitive cases while local prosecutors are left to pursue ordinary

cases in local courts, providing little opportunity for interaction and sharing

of experience

The further transfer of judicial and criminal justice powers

from the United Nations mission to local Ministries of Justice and Interior

underscore the importance of urgent action by the international community in

concert with the provisional governments to address the deficiencies in the

justice system, and to establish effective mechanisms for its oversight and


Protection of minorities: limited freedom of movement and returns

The security situation in Kosovo remains fragile.

While rates of reported inter-ethnic crime generally fell in 2005, many

organizations working with minorities suspect that the decrease simply reflects

greater physical separation and lack of interaction between communities since

major clashes between majority Albanians and Serbs and widespread rioting in

March 2004. There has been an increase in serious security incidents, including

those targeting Kosovo Serbs—a development highlighted by the Secretary-General

in his report on Kosovo to the Security Council in January 2006. Low-level

harassment and intimidation remain frequent reminders of the divide between

communities in some areas.

Minorities also continue to suffer from widespread

discrimination in employment and access to public services such as health care,

education, and the courts. Roma communities are particularly affected. Their

living conditions in the northern part of the province have been a serious

source of concern for some time now, prompting the European Roma Rights Center

to file an application in February 2006 with the European Court of Human Rights

on behalf of 184 Romani citizens of Kosovo against the interim U.N. administration (UNMIK) alleging violations of their right to life and freedom from torture and

discrimination among others.

Progress on returns of the more than 200,000 Kosovar

minorities displaced since the conflict in 1999 has been limited. The latest

figures indicate that less than 5% of the refugees and internally displaced

persons have returned, with further suggestion of a decrease in returns and a

simultaneous increase in minority departures and property sales.

Returns that do take place are often incomplete or partial

returns, predominantly to rural and mono-ethnic areas. Efforts to facilitate

the return of the 4,100 persons displaced by the March 2004 riots has been

patchy. Although many of the homes destroyed or damaged by March 2004 riots

have been reconstructed–albeit not without serious shortcomings about the

quality of rebuilding–few of the displaced have returned to reconstructed homes

in their former communities, preferring instead to remain in metal containers

set up as temporary housing, in settlements on the outskirts of towns, in

unaffected minority enclaves, or outside Kosovo.

In March 2005, UNHCR revised its findings on protection

needs of minorities in Kosovo, and concluded that while individual cases should

continue to be assessed, there was no longer a security basis for blocking

forcible returns of Ashkaelia, Egyptian, Bosniak and Gorani minorities (By

contrast Serbs and Roma are judged to remain at generalized risk). On that

basis, UNMIK relaxed its forced returns policy, which has resulted in an

increase in forced returns from western Europe, especially of the first three

groups, despite concerns from NGOs in Kosovo about the sustainability of such


Reduced human rights monitoring capacity

The transformation of the Ombudsperson’s office from an

international to a local institution at the end of 2005 raised concerns about

the office’s ability to effectively monitor the activities of UNMIK and other

international and national bodies, bringing into question the continued

existence of an important mechanism of accountability in Kosovo. Indeed,

steps appear to have been taken just a few weeks ago to eliminate the

institution’s ability to monitor the international administration in Kosovo and

to limit its access to certain facilities, including prisons.

In our opinion, the international administration requires careful monitoring by an independent body to ensure that it respects the

rights of Kosovo citizens and abides by international human rights standards. With

civil society in Kosovo still weak, the Ombudsperson’s office is one of the few

institutions to perform that role and the only independent institution vested

with adequate jurisdiction in this field. Moroever, transparent

monitoring of public institutions in Kosovo is a fundamental prerequisite to a

functioning democratic society founded on the notion of rule of law.


Recommendations for EU action relating to Kosovo:

  • Use the pivotal role of the EU in the status negotations

    to ensure that progress on standards—including a functioning justice

    system that creates accountability for crimes and reflects a strong gender

    and child dimension, the protection of minority rights, and progress on

    sustainable return—is at the heart of any settlement for Kosovo;

  • Consider a comprehensive review of the current functioning

    of the justice system—both local and internationally-supported aspects of the

    system—to evaluate the material and political resources necessary to

    ensure accountability through criminal prosecutions;

  • Ensure that no-one from Kosovo deemed by UNHCR to be in

    need of continued international protection, including Serbs and Roma, is subject

    to involuntary return from the European Union to Kosovo, and ensure that

    any returns from the E.U. are carried out in safety and in dignity;

  • Support initiatives aimed at combating discrimination

    against minorities in access to employment, education, social welfare, and

    health services, and measures promoting access for minorities to administrative offices and courts;

  • Seek clarity around the recent restructuring of the

    Ombudsperson’s mandate and ensure that adequate capacity to engage in

    human rights monitoring and oversight of key public institutions, such as

    prisons, exist, either through the establishment of alternative monitoring

    mechanisms or by reinstating the Ombudsperson’s full mandate.

Accountability for War Crimes

Lack of cooperation by Serbia and Montenegro with the ICTY

In her recent report to the Security Council in December

2005, as well as in recent public statements, ICTY Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte

has raised serious concerns about Serbia and Montenegro’s (SCG) failure to fully cooperate with the tribunal. At the beginning of 2005, in an encouraging

move, SCG authorities convinced sixteen war crimes indictees to voluntarily

surrender to The Hague. In her recent statements, the Prosecutor has noted that

SCG’s cooperation deteriorated in the second half of 2005. This lack of

cooperation is illustrated by the failure of the authorities in SCG to take decisive steps to locate and arrest wartime commander of the Bosnian Serb forces,

General Ratko Mladic, as well as other ICTY indictees believed to be on the

territory of SCG, and to allow the Tribunal access to national files and

documents it has long requested.

The successful implementation of the ICTY’s mandate,

including its completion strategy, depends upon the arrest and transfer of all

indictees who remain at large, including Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, the

wartime Bosnian Serb leader. Ten years have passed since the Srebrenica

massacre, yet those most responsible continue to escape justice.2

The Srebrenica trial is likely to start in mid-2006 and it is crucial that

Mladic join his co-accused on the bench. SCG authorities must do their utmost

to ensure that Mladic and other ICTY indictees still at large and within their

reach be transferred to the tribunal without further delay.

E.U. pressure, including through Council conclusions, the

Commission’s regular reports, and overall through the Stabilization and

Association process, has been a key factor in improved cooperation by the

governments of the Western Balkans with the ICTY. As Prosecutor Del Ponte

pointed out in her speech to the UN Security Council last December, “Experience

shows that the political pressure from the European Union and the United States is the most significant factor encouraging the States of the former Yugoslavia to transfer indictees to The Hague.”

The recent arrest of General Ante Gotovina in Tenerife, Spain, as a result of information provided by Croatian authorities, underscores

the importance of E.U. consistency and determination in ensuring full

cooperation with the ICTY from all states in the region. E.U. willingness to

suspend accession negotiations with Croatia over the arrest of Gotovina sent an

important signal in the region that must be followed through.

In this regard, Human Rights Watch welcomes the February 27, 2006 conclusions by the E.U. General Affairs and External Relations Council

(GAERC), which emphasized that “full cooperation with the ICTY must be achieved

to ensure that the SAA negotiations are not disrupted.” The E.U. must be

prepared to act on these conclusions if the ICTY Prosecutor continues to report

lack of full cooperation on the part of SCG.



fair and effective domestic war crimes trials in the region

The ICTY will only able to prosecute a limited number of

persons accused of war crimes. Full justice therefore depends on the countries

of the region sharing responsibility for dealing with past abuses. Presently Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereafter Bosnia), Croatia and SCG (including Kosovo) are, to varying

degrees, engaged in efforts to deal with the legacy of their past in their own

courts. However, based on extensive research, we are concerned that national

courts continue to leave many war crimes unpunished and struggle to meet

internationally recognized fair trial and due process standards.3

We believe that this matter requires immediate attention and

action on the part of the E.U. The Union’s institutions should encourage and

assist the states in the region to engage in the necessary reforms that will

enable them to implement fairly and effectively their legal obligations to

prosecute serious violations of humanitarian law committed during the


Human Rights Watch is convinced that the Stabilization and

Association process has a central role to play in meeting this objective. This

approach is entirely consistent with the E.U.’s commitment to promote human

rights and the rule of law in the region. It is also complementary to the

E.U.’s dedication to ensure the successful completion of the ICTY’s mandate.

We welcome the Commission’s inclusion of references to

national war crimes trials in the 2005 progress reports on Croatia, Bosnia, and SCG. We regret, however, that the GAERC has not adopted conclusions on the

matter since October 2003, when it stressed “the importance of strengthening national judicial systems and to

improve their capacity to prosecute cases transferred from the ICTY.”

Specialized chambers – the

War Crimes Chamber in Sarajevo

Bosnia, Croatia, and SCG, have each taken a significant step toward effective war crimes prosecutions by creating specialized mechanisms to

prosecute and adjudicate such cases. As these mechanisms have just begun to

operate, it is too early to make conclusive assessments of their impact on the

fairness of proceedings in the region.

The establishment of the War Crimes Chamber in Sarajevo (WCC) is a case in point. Initiated by the ICTY and the Office of the High Representative and

funded by the European Commission and a number of E.U. member states, the WCC is part of the State Court of Bosnia and has the mandate to try cases referred to it by the

ICTY as well as the most serious war crimes cases initiated locally. Since the WCC began operations in March 2005, it has already issued indictments in locally initiated cases,

including a December 2005 indictment against 11 ethnic Serbs for crimes

committed in Srebrenica. The ICTY has already referred two of its cases to the

chamber and additional referrals are expected.

While our research on the WCC indicates that it can deliver fair trials for defendants, we are concerned that its performance could be undercut

because of inadequate funding and insufficient numbers of prosecutors and

investigators to manage the current caseload effectively.4

Proceedings in other national courts

Despite the creation of specialized chambers, other ordinary

courts in Bosnia and in Croatia will retain jurisdiction to hear war crimes

cases. Since they will not hear cases referred to from the ICTY, these courts

have not received the same international scrutiny as the specialized chambers

referred to above. But their ability to conduct fair and effective war crimes

trials is an important factor to the success of accountability efforts in the

region as a whole.

Human Rights Watch has conducted extensive trial monitoring

and found that domestic war crimes prosecutions throughout the region have been

marred by serious problems, including ethnic bias on the part of prosecutors

and judges, inadequate cooperation by the police in the conduct of investigations,

insufficient cooperation between states on judicial matters, ineffective

witness protection programs, and lack of political will.

Nowhere in the region have these problems been more acute

than in Republika Srpska, where some of the worst war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina were committed. Almost half of the individuals indicted by the ICTY

are Bosnian Serbs. However, for most of the past decade there has been

effective impunity for war crimes in Republika Srpska. As of November 2005,

only two war crimes trials had been completed there.

In late 2005, however, war crimes prosecutions began to gain

momentum in Republika Srpska. In two trials completed in November and December

respectively, a court in Banja Luka convicted a total of four ethnic Serbs on

war crimes charges, and one Serb was convicted in the town of Trebinje in

December. As of early February 2006, a war crimes trial against an ethnic Serb

was ongoing in Trebinje district court, and another one involving a Serb

defendant in Banja Luka district court. Prosecutors in charge of war crimes

prosecutions in several parts of Republika Srpska were also nearing completion

of other investigations.5

This new impetus towards prosecuting war crimes in Republika

Srpska creates a significant opportunity to reform the criminal justice system.

At present, war crimes prosecutions in Republika Srpska are hampered by a range

of obstacles. These include limited prosecutorial resources, including

shortages of support staff and lack of investigative capacity, and an expanding

case load; the absence of specialist war crimes prosecutors, reflecting both a

lack of expertise in humanitarian law and the fact that the mandate of

prosecutors is not focused exclusively on war crimes cases; insufficient

assistance by Republika Srpska police, coupled with a failure to make use of

evidence available from other sources; witness intimidation and fatigue; and

the non-availability of suspects.

For the recent progress in Republika Srpska to be sustained,

it is important that authorities there, in conjunction with the national

authorities in Bosnia, take positive action to enhance the capacity and

effectiveness of district prosecutors’ offices, including by introducing

professional investigators in the prosecutorial offices, and increasing the

number of prosecutors in districts where the growing number of war crimes

investigations so requires. Prosecutorial offices should also make greater use

of law clerks in war crimes prosecutions, and make full use of available

sources of information relevant to the investigation, including information gathered by nongovernmental organizations, and ICTY transcripts and other material.

Recommendations for E.U. action pertaining to war

crimes accountability:

  • Reaffirm, at every opportunity, privately and publicly,

    that full cooperation with the ICTY remains a fundamental condition for

    deepening of relations between the E.U. and the countries of the Western


  • Reiterate during bilateral discussions with SCG officials that continuing negotiations on the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA)

    will take full account of the ICTY’s evaluation of SCG cooperation, and

    call on SCG authorities to deploy all efforts to ensure the prompt arrest

    and transfer of all remaining indictees to the ICTY;

  • In determining whether to suspend or to proceed with SAA

    negotiations, take full account of the evaluation of the ICTY Prosecutor

    on SCG cooperation with the ICTY;

  • Emphasize the importance the E.U. attaches to fair and

    effective domestic war crimes prosecutions in all bilateral and

    multilateral dialogues with government officials from the region, and

    re-affirm the E.U.’s commitment to support efforts to ensure that those

    proceedings are fair and effective;

  • Adopt GAERC conclusions to underscore the importance the

    E.U. places on fair and effective domestic war crimes prosecutions in the

    Western Balkans;

  • Pledge continued E.U. financial support to the WCC in Sarajevo.

Additional human rights concerns in Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro


Human Rights Watch’s main concerns on Croatia beyond war

crimes accountability include the lack of progress in resolving the issue of

tenancy rights stripped from tens of thousands of Croatian Serbs during the

war; an increase in the number of ethnically motivated incidents against

Croatian Serbs; and, the under-representation of the Serb minority in the state

administration, the judiciary, and the executive bodies and administration of self-government units.

Lack of progress in resolving the issue of tenancy

rights in socially-owned property

Croatian authorities terminated the tenancy rights of up to

thirty thousand Serb families after they fled their apartments during and after

the war. A majority of the socially-owned apartments were located in Zagreb, Split, Osijek, and other big cities in the areas controlled by the central

government during the war. In June 2003, the Croatian cabinet adopted a set of

measures to enable former tenancy rights holders in these areas to rent or

purchase government-built apartments at below-market rates. Almost three years

after the enactment of the program, there has been no tangible progress in its

implementation. As of November 2005, only a dozen former tenancy rights holders

had benefited from the program.6

In addition, beneficiaries who wish to purchase property must pay sixty

perecent of the market value of the property, which is beyond the means of most

returnes. The government’s scheme cannot be said to be a meaningful form of

reparation or compensation for the past dispossession, which remain unavailable

to Serb former tenancy right holders.


Ethnically motivated incidents against Croatian Serbs

In a troubling development, violent acts against ethnic

Serbs saw a sudden increase during the past year. The May 18 killing of eighty-one-year-old

Dusan Vidic in his house in Karin, near Benkovac, was particularly shocking. Other

incidents included beating of returnees, damaging vehicles with Serbian

registration plates, writing graffiti calling for murder of Serbs, and bomb

explosions next to the premises of a Serb political party in Vukovar and in the

municipal assembly buildings in two majority Serb villages. A recent survey by

the leading association of the Croatian Serbs, the Serb Democratic Forum, lists

and describes forty-nine incidents that occurred during 2005.7

In all but a few cases the police failed to apprehend the perpetrators. In most

return areas, there are few or no Serbs in the police, which adds to the sense

of insecurity among the local minority population.


Under-representation of Serbs and other minorities in

public office

Limited economic opportunities for minority returnees,

partly caused by employment discrimination, also greatly impedes return. A

December 2002 Constitutional Law on National Minorities (CLNM) obliges the

state to ensure proportionate representation of minorities in the state administration and the judiciary, as well as the executive bodies and administration of

self-government units. In most areas, there are no Serb returnees in the

judiciary, the regional offices of the state ministries, and the local

self-government structures. Private entrepreneurs, although not bound by the

law to hire Serbs, have proved to be more willing to do so than government


Tackling the problems described above would be possible if

the government had the necessary political will. This is best illustrated by

the example of neighboring Bosnia, where former tenancy rights holders have

been able to repossess their homes, significant progress has been made in employing

members of various ethnic groups in the judiciary and the state administration, and ethnically motivated incidents are less frequent than in Croatia although

the destructive effects of the war had been far greater. It is crucial that the

E.U. use its influence through the accession process to ensure that Croatia makes progress in removing the remaining obstacles to return, and respecting the

rights of minorities.


Recommendations for E.U. action in Croatia:

 The E.U. should call on Croatian authorities to:

  • implement the June 2003 program that would enable former

    tenancy rights holders in the areas outside the areas of special state

    concern to rent or purchase government-built apartments at below-market


  • take appropriate preventive measures to protect Serb

    communities from attacks, and investigate thoroughly all reports and

    incidents of ethnic violence;

  • intensify efforts to ensure greater participation of

    minorities in the police;

  • make public statistical data, broken down by geographical

    area, of the implementation of the legal provisions on proportionate

    representation of minorities in the state administration and the

    judiciary, as well as the executive bodies and administration of

    self-government units; and

  • develop a system of targeted monitoring of minority

    employment in the state administration and the judiciary, as well as the

    executive bodies and administration of self-government units, and

    intervene, through the involvement of pertinent ministries, in cases in

    which employment discrimination on ethnic grounds is apparent.

Serbia and Montenegro

In addition to slow progress on the issue war crimes

accountability, intimidation of ethnic minorities and the treatment of human

rights defenders in Serbia and Montenegro remain the principal human rights

concerns in the country.

Ethnically motivated attacks

Compared to the previous year, in 2005 incidents of

ethnically motivated attacks decreased in the Vojvodina region of northern Serbia, but intensified in other parts of the country, often taking the form of

anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim graffiti, as well as physical assaults on Roma.8

Criminal and misdemeanor sentences against the perpetrators of ethnically

motivated crimes were light. Following strong international criticism of these

trends, government officials have become more robust in condemning offenses

against minorities. Public prosecutors have also begun to invoke a provision in

the Penal Code criminalizing incitement to ethnic, racial and religious hatred,

which allows for harsher sentencing for ethnic violence.

These developments notwithstanding, there is a risk of

further violence against some minorities in Serbia, particularly ethnic

Albanians and Muslims, if Serbia is perceived to be faring badly in the Kosovo

status negotiations. For these reasons, it remains important to demand from Belgrade that it ensure that minorities are adequately protected and that those responsible

for ethnically motivated attacks are held accountable to the fullest extent of

the law.

Campaign against human rights


High-profile government officials, mainly those belonging to

Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia, have in the

past eight months often expressed hostility towards leading human rights

defenders. The head of the State Security Service, Rade Bulatovic, and Minister

for Capital Investments, Velimir Ilic, suggested in July and September 2005

that leading human rights organizations in Serbia were working for unspecified

foreign powers. Media close to the government have argued that Serbia should impose strict limitations on the work of human rights organizations, in a vein similar

to that in Russia.

In June and July 2005, the head of the parliamentary group

of Prime Minister Kostunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia repeatedly expressed

contempt for “characters like Natasa Kandic,” one of Serbia’s most prominent

human rights activists, while Justice Minister Stojkovic accused Kandic of

indifference to Serb victims of war crimes. Physical assaults on Serbian

Helsinki Committee Director Sonja Biserko and break-ins at her home and at the

home of well-known human rights lawyer Biljana Kovacevic-Vuco during 2005

appeared to be the work of Serbian extremists incited by such statements. These

three leading activists were frequently subject to verbal harassment in public.

Recommendations for E.U. action in Serbia and Montenegro:

 The E.U. should call on the authorities of Serbia and Montenegro to:

  • take all appropriate preventive measures to protect

    non-Serb communities from attacks, and investigate thoroughly all reports

    and incidents of ethnic violence;

  • intensify efforts to ensure greater participation of

    minorities in the police;

  • consider legislation that would allow for the imposition

    of greater sentences for ethnically aggravated forms of offenses against

    the person, property, public order, and similar offenses;

  • refrain from making derogatory and hostile statements

    against Serbian human rights organizations, and accept the legitimacy of

    their work as indispensable contribution to developing respect for human

    rights in the transition to full-fledged democracy;

  • Ensure that the legislative reforms underway permit NGOs

    and human rights defenders to operate freely and without government

    interference. The reform effort should be based on a consultative process

    taking full account of the views of civil society.

[1] For a more detailed overview of Human Rights Watch’s concerns regarding human rights developments in the countries of the Western Balkans, see our World Report 2006, available at

[2] For a more comprehensive Human Rights Watch commentary on impunity for the perpetrators of the Srebrenica massacre, see “Safe Areas” for Srebrenica’s Most Wanted: A Decade of Failure to Apprehend Karadzic and Mladic, published in June 2005 and available at

[3] For a detailed overview of Human Rights Watch’s concerns pertaining to domestic war crimes trials in the Western Balkans, see Human Rights Watch, “Justice at Risk: War Crimes Trials in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia and Montenegro, ” A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 18, no.1(D), October 2004, [online]

[4] For a more detailed analysis of the Sarajevo War Crimes Chamber, see Human Rights Watch, “Looking for Justice: The War Crimes Chamber in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 18, no.1(D), February 2006, [online]

[5] These and other cases are documented in a forthcoming Human Rights Watch report on war crimes trials in Republika Srpska, “A Chance for Justice? War Crimes Prosecutions in Bosnia’s Serb Republic,” A Human Rights Watch Report, Vol. 18 No. 9 (D), March 2006.

[6] For a fuller analysis of the obstacles to refugee returns to Croatia, see Human Rights Watch’s May 2004 briefing paper “Croatia Returns Update,” available at and “Broken Promises: Impediments to Refugee Return to Croatia,” A Human Rights Watch Report, Vol. 15 no. (6) D,September 2003, [online]

[7] The report is available at

[8] For more information about ethnic violence against minorities in Serbia, see Human Rights Watch, “Dangerous Indifference: Violence against
Minorities in Serbia,” A Human Rights Watch Report, Vol. 17 No 7 (D), October
2005, [online]

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