Serbia military chief files libel suit against rights activist

[JURIST] Serbian General Ljubisa Dikovic [official profile, in Serbian] on Monday brought a libel suit against the head of a Serbian human rights group that accused him of failing to prevent war crimes in 1998 and 1999 during the war in Kosovo [JURIST news archive]. Natasa Kandic, director of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) [advocacy website], accused Dikovic of war crimes in January [JURIST report], pointing to evidence uncovered during the trial of former Serbian president Milan Milutinovic by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website]. HLC noted that Dikovic was in command of the 37th Motorized Brigade, in whose zone of control the ICTY found a "number of heavy and massive war crimes committed." The HLC alleged that, although Dikovic had a responsibility to prevent the war crimes, he did not act. Dikovic denies the allegations [RFE/RL report].

The ICTY is currently preparing for the trial of former Serbian general and alleged war criminal Ratko Mladic [ICTY backgrounder, PDF; JURIST news archive], which was supposed to begin this month but has been further delayed [JURIST report] until May 14. During a hearing last month, Mladic accused the ICTY of being "biased" against Serbs [JURIST report] and a "puppet" of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) [official website]. Mladic faces charges [case background] of genocide and crimes against humanity, including murder, political persecution, forcible transfer and deportations, cruel treatment, and the taking of peacekeepers as hostages committed by Bosnian Serb forces under his command during the Bosnian civil war. The ICTY had previously tried [JURIST news archive] former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive] but ended that trial after his death [JURIST report] in custody in 2006.

 

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