The Humanitarian Law Fund (HLF) has called on the institutions of Serbia to prosecute the former JNA officers who were directly responsible for the crimes committed at Ovčara near Vukovar. Additionally, the HLF urged the institutions to stop supporting war criminals and to work more effectively in finding missing persons.
The organization also asked for an end to the ongoing search for the remains of victims and for the establishment of a culture of memory that honors their memory. The HLF pointed out that only those directly responsible for murdering over 200 prisoners of war at Ovčara were prosecuted, while other perpetrators have gone unpunished.
Despite a verdict in favor of prosecution, JNA Major Veselin Šljivančanin, a member of Serbian Progressive Party’s Central Committee, has faced no consequences and has even appeared as an analyst in various media outlets. The HLF emphasized that Serbia must pay attention to the victims of these crimes and publicly express respect for them and their families.
To begin addressing this issue, the HLC suggested that Serbia start by mapping out locations where civilians and Croatian soldiers were held captive, participate in commemorative events, and open JNA archives to gather information from those who witnessed events at Ovčara firsthand.
Following the final verdict in this case, which was conducted in Serbia, the HLC filed lawsuits on behalf of families affected by Ovčara massacre seeking compensation for their loved ones’ deaths. These efforts resulted in 11 successful proceedings on behalf of plaintiffs. However, despite these accomplishments, the HLF stressed that there are still obstacles preventing significant progress towards establishing full responsibility for these crimes, finding missing persons and supporting victims’ families.
In conclusion, it is crucial that Serbia takes responsibility for its past actions and works towards healing wounds from past conflicts. This requires acknowledging victims’ suffering and working towards justice through accountability mechanisms such as prosecution and compensation processes.