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BIRN launches updated map of Balkan war crime verdicts

Press release , Photo/BIRN BiH

SARAJEVO, December 19 (FENA) - The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network BIRN has published an updated and improved version of its War Crimes Verdicts Map, an interactive tool that offers an overview of hundreds of court rulings on the crimes committed during the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia.

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network on Wednesday published its updated and improved War Crimes Verdicts Map, enabling users to search rulings in cases from courts across the former Yugoslavia and from the UN tribunal in The Hague, BIRN reports.

The map includes all the final war crimes verdicts that are available from 42 different domestic courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia.

It also includes the verdicts handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and cases in which defendants died during their trials at the UN tribunal.

In the updated version of the map, users can now search by defendants’ names, the units to which they belonged, the countries in which the courts are located, the crime locations and the dates. It is based on over 1,400 court documents.

The number of verdicts included is now 468, with a total of 1,028 defendants. The verdicts were handed down between 1992, when the first cases in Croatia were opened, and 2019.

Courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina delivered the most verdicts – a total of 209 – while Croatia had the biggest number of defendants, 396 in total.

“This map is the result of our dedicated work in following both international and domestic war crime trials since 2004. While reporting from the courtroom, we as journalists often struggled to get all the documents. Through the years, we accumulated a significant archive and we wanted to share this with our colleagues but also the general public to make their work in following war crime trials easier and more factually-based,” said Marija Ristić, BIRN’s regional director.

“This war crimes verdicts map comes amid growing efforts of courts to anonymize court documents, preventing us from reporting fairly and correctly from trials,” Ristić added.

In the future, the map will also include verdicts handed down by the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals and the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague.

In some of the countries however, BIRN is still waiting for courts to provide all their verdicts.

The wars in the former Yugoslavia left some 125,000 people dead, and around 12,000 are still listed as missing.

The War Crimes Verdicts Map is part of BIRN’s Balkan Transitional Justice initiative, funded by the European Commission.

The project aims to improve the general public’s understanding of transitional justice issues in former Yugoslav countries – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

(FENA) S.R.