SREBRENICA GENOCIDE ACTIVIST FACING JAIL IN SERBIA
(Photo description: Excavation of Srebrenica genocide victims' remains. So far, nearly 3,000 Srebrenica massacre victims have been found, DNA-identified and buried in the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial Center in Potocari. Another 5,000 bags with remains of victims found in nearly 60 mass graves in eastern Bosnia are still waiting to be identified before returned to their families.)
'IMPARTIALITY'? "Amnesty International is especially concerned about some media reports that Serbian judge hearing Maja Stojanovic’s case allegedly said that the victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide 'deserved what happened to them' and that they are 'the same as those Muslims who burnt [his] house in Kosovo.'"
On July 11, 2005, Maja Stojanovic, with a group of activists in Nis, was putting up posters demanding the extradition of Ratko Mladic, indicted for Srebrenica genocide, to The Hague tribunal. Both Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic have been indicted on Srebrenica Genocide charges by the International Criminal Tribunal at the Hague, but they remain on the run. Stojanovic received a maximum fine for putting up posters allegedly outside the locations designated for the purpose, despite the fact that the posters were being put up over the existing posters for which no one had been fined before (photos on the left).
As a sign of civil disobedience Maja Stojanovic refused to pay the fine, but she has recently received the final notice to pay the fine by July 25, 2007, at the latest. Failing this, the fine shall be converted to ten-day prison sentence.
“It is unacceptable that Maja Stojanovic should end up behind bars for a publicly stated view that Mladic must be sent to The Hague and for reminding the public of the Srebrenica genocide,” said Andrej Nosov, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights president.
London-based Amnesty International strongly condemned the court’s decision to detain Stojanovic.
“Maja Stojanovic was sentenced at a trial which raised serious doubts about the independence of the Serbian judiciary. If she ends up in prison, Amnesty International will consider her a prisoner of conscience,” the organisation said in a statement issued this week.
Amnesty International is especially concerned about some media reports that a judge hearing Stojanovic’s case allegedly said that the victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, with which Mladic has been charged, “deserved what happened to them” and that they are “the same as those Muslims who burnt [his] house in Kosovo”.
"Given that Serbia's senior officials advocate in public the cooperation with The Hague tribunal, we would urge the state to pay this fine, if the Serbian president and others whom we have appealed to have no legal mechanisms at their disposal to suspend the fine,” Nosov said this week.
Amnesty International stated that the Stojanovic case is another attempt by the Serbian authorities to punish human rights organisations who are trying to force Serbia to face up its recent past.
A number of other Serbian NGOs have joined the protest against Stojanvic’s sentence, including the Humanitarian Law Center, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and Women in Black.
1. Youth Initiative for Human Rights - Official Web Site
2. Rights Activist Faces Jail for Urging Mladic Arrest - Institute for War and Peace Reporting