UN Prosecutor Urges Montenegro to Tackle War Crimes

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News
13 Oct 14
UN Prosecutor Urges Montenegro to Tackle War Crimes

Chief Hague Tribunal war crimes prosecutor Serge Brammertz expressed concern that Montenegro has not yet prosecuted any senior official for war crimes during the 1990s conflicts.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica

Brammertz meets Montenegrin PM Milo Djukanovic.

In his first ever official visit to Montenegro on Friday, the chief prosecutor of the Hague-based court said that he had come to the country to encourage the authorities to do more to deal with war crimes.

Brammertz cited last week’s EU progress report on Montenegro, which criticised its efforts to properly address the issue, saying that “no serious efforts to tackle impunity have been demonstrated”.

“A certain number of procedures have been implemented and progress has been made, but there is still room for improvement, and I am fully aware of the criticism that was expressed by the European Union and other organisations,” Brammertz told a press conference in Podgorica.

After recent much-criticised acquittals and lenient sentences handed down by Montenegrin courts, last week’s EU progress report noted that the country has yet to lay charges for command responsibility over war crimes.

“Montenegro needs to step up its efforts to fight impunity for war crimes, and effectively investigate, prosecute, try and punish war crimes in line with international standards,” it said.

A Montenegrin court handed down its first-ever final sentence for war crimes in April this year, jailing four former Yugoslav Army reservists for a total of 12 years abusing Croatian prisoners at the Morinj wartime detention camp.

But in another recent war crimes case, nine former interior ministry officials were acquitted in June 2013 of detaining and deporting Bosnian refugees.

Brammertz however praised Montenegro’s cooperation with the Hague Tribunal when he met Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic on Thursday.

“The fact that I am in Montenegro now for the first time is a confirmation that the country and the Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia have no open issues,” he said.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)