Posts Tagged ‘genocide denial’

Ultranationalists attack human rights defenders, including Natasa Kandic, in Belgrade

February 7, 2020

Nataša Kandić, the founder of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), an NGO documenting human rights violations across the former Yugoslavia, along with five other human rights defenders, organized a protest against Vojislav Šešelj’s book launch. Although the International Criminal Tribunal of the UN found Vojislav Šešelj guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to ten years in prison in 2018, today he is the leader of the Serb Radical Party (SRS), and a member of Serbian parliament. At the book launch on 5 February 2020, he was promoting his latest book, in which he denies the Srebrenica genocide. The protesters were physically attacked and removed from the event by force.

The human rights defenders (members of the HLC, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, and Forum ZFD) intended to hand out copies of an HLC report detailing Serbian war crimes committed against Croats, documents that had a crucial role in Šešelj’s Hague trial as well. Speaking to the Belgrade office of Radio Free Europe, Nataša Kandić said that they were pushed to the ground and kicked by SRS members following an order coming from Šešelj, the party’s leader. Ivana Žanić, executive director of HLC, shared a video showing this on her Twitter channel.

The founder of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), along with five other activists of HLC, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YiHR) and Forum ZFD, was physically assaulted by members of the far-right Serbian Radical Party at an event promoting books which deny genocide and crimes against humanity in the former Yugoslavia.

The human rights activists attempted to distribute a HLC report detailing war crimes committed against Croats in the Vojvodina province when they were confronted by supporters of the Radical party . On orders of the party’s president, convicted war criminal Vojislav Seselj, they proceeded to push, hit and verbally abuse the activists; violently forcing them out of the public hall.

The attack took place at the premises of the municipality Stari Grad in Belgrade, which is a public space, yet no staff or security personnel attempted to intervene to prevent the confrontation.

Natasa Kandic is the recipient of many (eight) human rights awards including the Martin Ennals Award in 1999 the first award by Civil Rights Defenders 2013. Its Director for Europe, Goran Miletic, commented “it is very concerning that time and again, every discussion on Serbia’s involvement in war crimes during the nineties is met with violent abuse and harassment. Events promoting genocide-denial are completely unacceptable in any democratic society, let alone an aspiring EU member state. Not only should public authorities not provide public spaces for such manifestations, but they should take an active position against the promotion of war criminals.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/natasa-kandic/

http://www.osaarchivum.org/press-room/announcements/ultranationalists-attacked-natasa-kandic

Attack Against Civil Rights Defender of the Year Recipient Natasa Kandic in Belgrade