Youth Initiative for Human Rights will hold a press conference on Monday, December 25th, at 1 pm, at the Media Center, where it will present a publication titled “War Criminals in Political Life: Mutual Support Between Convicted War Criminals and Political Elites in Serbia”, which presents an overview of state support of war criminals in 2017.

Representatives of the Youth Initiative will also address the public regarding the misdemeanor procedure initiated by the Prosecutor against Youth Initiative’s activists due to protests at the Serbian Progressive Party’s public event in Beška, where Veselin Sljivancanin spoke.

The Prosecutor’s Office in Stara Pazova first filed a criminal complaint against all nine activists of the Youth Initiative who were in Beška, and after the court rejected this criminal complaint, the Prosecution initiated a misdemeanor procedure. The procedure is filed for 1) rude, insolent and ruthless behavior as well as 2) insulting, committing violence, threatening and/or fighting. It is also important to note that the Prosecution rejected a criminal complaint filed by the Initiative’s activists against persons unknown, thus clearly choosing to appoint itself as a representative of a war criminal and those who support him.

The first hearing of the Initiative’s activists for alleged violations for which is a possible sentence from 30 to 60 days, is scheduled for December 25th at 8am, at the Ruma Criminal Court, the Inđija department.

Activists and representatives of the Initiative will speak on a conference in Media Center about this case immediately after the hearing.

At this conference, we want to point out the fact that marked year 2017 in the Serbian political context, which is the support of top state officials and ruling political parties given to convicted war criminals. In order to point out this phenomenon, the Initiative made a brief overview of statements and events from the previous period, which shows the coherence of the current government’s policy of glorifying war criminals, their actions during the wars in former Yugoslavia and the politics that was behind it.

To recall, the Initiative has, since its founding in 2003, been dedicated to fight against the celebration of war criminals in the public sphere. Events in 2017 only intensified this struggle. At one of these protests, in January in Beška, the Initiative’s activists used whistles and a banner saying “War Criminals to be Silent in Order for Victims to Speak”, opposed the fact that the convicted war criminal, Veselin Sljivančanin, speaks in public spaces during the election campaign of the Serbian Progressive Party. Activists of the Initiative were beaten and kicked out of the Cultural Center and one car was damaged.