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’.
The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania launched a call for investigative stories on October 23rd.
The call is part of the program ‘Exposing Corruption in Albania,’ supported by th Open Society Foundation in Albania (OSFA), the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
Power Games, an unprecedented investigation into the murky world of energy deals in the Balkans, has been launched by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.
The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Albania organised a roundtable on October 21st in Tirana, bringing together journalists with civil society organisations working in the field of education.
BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina will hold the US premiere of its latest documentary, ‘Missing You’, on Thursday October 23 at Columbia University in New York.
The German government organization GIZ awarded Gazeta Jeta në Kosovë for investigative journalism about education.
The key conclusion from the debate in Belgrade on Tuesday was that the recently-published EU Progress Report on Serbia was not too hard on the Serbian government, but it does not mention many problems and some of the conclusions and recommendations are identical to the 2013 Progress Report.
BIRN’s documentary The Majority Starts Here was screened for the first time in the United States on Thursday, at Columbia University in New York.
Over 40 representatives of the media, non-governmental organisations and partners attended the official launch of BIRN Albania’s news website Reporter.al on October 3.
The biggest issue local media in Serbia are facing is a lack of knowledge about project financing and lack of budgetary transparency in allocating money to media outlets, two debates held by BIRN Serbia in Nis and Kragujevac heard. Media representatives said they hoped that some of the problems would be resolved by full implementation of new Media and Public Information Law.
Four men were sentenced to prison terms on September 18 for their role in a kidnapping of a woman in a case that BIRN Kosovo reported on even before Kosovo’s prosecutors did.