Montenegro: New Government, But No Progress on War Crime Probes – Balkan Insight

Posted: December 29, 2021 at 10:24 am

For the first time in the countrys history, government representatives were present at ceremonies to commemorate wartime crimes.

In May, Interior Ministry and police officials attended the commemoration of the anniversary of the deportation of at least 66 Bosniak refugees and some ethnic Serbs from the Montenegrin town of Herzeg Novi in 1992.

The Bosniaks and Serbs were illegally detained and brought to the police headquarters in Herceg Novi, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, from where they were deported on buses to Bosnian Serb-controlled territory. They were then detained in camps and only a few survived.

In July, Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic and President Milo Djukanovic attended the annual genocide commemoration ceremony in Srebrenica, and in October, Foreign Minister Djordje Radulovic and his Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlic laid a wreath at the Morinj wartime detention camp near the coastal town of Kotor, where Croatians captured on the battlefield were held from 1991 to 1993.

But Gorjanc Prelevic said that the new government needs to take a comprehensive approach to deal with the past.

Although there have been positive developments, such as the removal of the Minister of Justice and Human and Minority Rights, Vladimir Leposavic, for denying the Srebrenica genocide, and the laying of wreaths at the Morinj camp, a more serious, systematic commitment to dealing with the past is lacking. Such a commitment could make prosecutors take their war crimes obligations more seriously, said Gorjanc Prelevic.

Leposavic was dismissed by parliament in June after he expressed doubts about the Hague Tribunals rulings classifying the 1995 Srebrenica massacres by Bosnian Serb forces as genocide.

Leposavics dismissal was supported by the votes of opposition MPs and lawmakers from the Black on White coalition, which is part of the ruling majority. The other two blocs in the ruling majority, For the Future of Montenegro and Peace is Our Nation, did not support the dismissal.

Leposavic, a pro-Serbian politician, insisted he was not denying the Srebrenica genocide but only expressing his general position that the Hague court was not legitimate because it had destroyed evidence about the alleged trafficking of the organs of Serb civilians in Kosovo.

On the same day as Leposavic was sacked, the Montenegrin parliament also adopted a resolution condemning public denial of the Srebrenica genocide and calls on state institutions to investigate and prosecute war crimes.

The largest bloc in the ruling majority, For the Future of Montenegro, voted against the resolution, calling it a provocation against the countrys Serbs.

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Montenegro: New Government, But No Progress on War Crime Probes - Balkan Insight

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