BIRN director Gordana Igric participated in TransConflict’s working breakfast on Tuesday, December 4, together with Nemanja Stjepanovic from SENSE agency, on the challenges of covering transitional justice issues in the former Yugoslavia.
Igric presented BIRN’s Balkan Transitional Justice initiative, which aims to improve public understanding of transitional justice in former Yugoslav countries through on-line news reports, radio programmes and a TV documentary to be released next year.
Both speakers agreed that the acquittals by the Hague Tribunal, ICTY, of Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac of crimes against Serb civilians during the Croatian Army’s Operation “Oluja” [“Storm”], as well as the acquittal of Kosovo’s Ramus Haradinaj of war crimes against Serbs and non-Albanians during the Kosovo war, posed challenges when it comes to facing the past in the region.
Stjepanovic said that while the acquittal of Haradinaj was to be expected owing to the lack of fresh evidence on the part of the Hague prosecution, the EULEX mission in Kosovo and the Serbian government, the acquittal of the Croatian generals was more surprising as their indictment was supported with strong evidence.
Both speakers agreed that in both cases, the defence had been much more efficient than the prosecution.
Igric said that although the ICTY verdicts would surely affect relations between countries in the region, Serbia’s government remained determined to start membership talks with the EU.
The public saw the ICTY verdicts as backing the Croatian narrative about a defensive war, which Serbs saw as unfair, Igric noted.
TransConflict is a non-governmental organisation which undertakes conflict transformation projects and research, promoting an approach to - and understanding of - conflict that differs from traditional notions of conflict resolution.
Working breakfast – on the challenges of transitional justice in the former Yugoslavia – was organized as part of its project, ‘Understanding and combating extremism in Serbia’.
BIRN Serbia and Pro Concept held their fifth national budget forum at the National Assembly in Belgrade on 27 November, where panelists and participants offered their opinions and debated the proposed 2014 budget and the projected outcomes of the Serbian administration’s budgetary policy.
Journalists received bespoke investigative training as they prepared major cross-border stories into crime and corruption in the Balkans.
BIRN’s “Life in Kosovo” has been recognized for reporting on women in a TV programme.
Bardh Shkreli, a journalist for BIRN Kosovo, has won a third-place award in November from the German Society for International Cooperation, GIZ and the Association of Professional Journalists of Kosovo for education reporting.
Romania’s national journalistic competition Superscrieri has given awards to Elena Stancu and Vlad Odobescu, both fellows this year of the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.
Eight journalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, BIH, Croatia, and Serbia participated in a weeklong study visit to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, in October. The Tribunal's Outreach Programme organised the visit in cooperation with BIRN BiH.
BIRN Macedonia announces a call for journalists for an upcoming training session for investigative journalists.
Participants in this year’s Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence will meet for their final seminar and awards ceremony in Zagreb, Croatia from December 11-14.
During its EU membership negotiations, Serbia will be assessed on how well it has dealt with war crimes cases, European Commission official Pierre Mirel told a BIRN conference.