It’s officialy: UNMIK Failed in Resolving the Cases of Missing and Murdered Serbs

Posted on January 4, 2015 by

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The 78th regular session of the Human Rights Advisory Panel* (the Panel) was held in from 9 to 14. December 2014. The Panel adopted 7 opinions concerning 15 complaints. There are still 88 complaints pending before the Panel.

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Lela Nikolić et al v. UNMIK (cases nos 72/09, 73/09, 74/09, 75/09, 76/09, 78/09,
95/09 and 96/09)
The complaints of Ms Lela Nikolić concern her close relatives: stepmother, Mrs Darinka Šutaković (case
no. 72/09), father, Mr Nedeljko Šutaković (case no. 75/09), and their three sons: Radovan Šutaković, 10
years old (case no. 73/09), Ðorđe Šutaković, 16 years old (case no. 74/09) and Aleksandar Šutaković, 18
years old (case no. 76/09); The complaint of Ms Rosanda Kabaš concerns her brother, Mr Milenko
Kabaš; the complaints of Mr Milan Petrović concern his parents, Mr Mića Petrović and Mrs Radmila
Petrović (cases nos 95/09 and 96/09). The complainants’ relatives lived in the same apartment building
in Gjakovë/Đakovica. Around the same time, in June 1999, they were all abducted by members of the
Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Since that time their whereabouts have remained unknown.
The Panel concluded that UNMIK failed to carry out an effective investigation into the abduction and
disappearance of the above named persons, thus violating the complainant’s rights under Article 2
(procedural) and that UNMIK’s behaviour contributed to the complainant’s mental suffering (violation of
ECHR, Article 3 substantive). The text of the Opinion will be published on the Panel’s webpage in
approximately a months’ time.

Gavrilo Milosavljević v. UNMIK (case no. 163/09)
The complainant is the son of Mrs Ljubomirka Đurić, who was reportedly abducted from her flat in
Istog/Istok at some time between 2 June and 5 July 1999. Her whereabouts are unknown to date.
The Panel concluded that UNMIK did not conduct an effective investigation into the case of Mrs
Ljubomirka Đurić (violation of ECHR, Article 2 procedural) and that UNMIK’s behaviour contributed to
the complainant’s mental suffering (violation of ECHR, Article 3 substantive) . The Panel also noted that
the investigative file with respect to Mr M.P. and Mrs S.P., two persons who were also disappeared from
Istog/Istok around the same time as Mrs Ljubomirka Đurić, shows, even within the constraints raised by
the SRSG, how thorough an investigation by UNMIK Police could be. The text of the Opinion will be
published on the Panel’s webpage in approximately a months’ time.

Vinogorka Jovanović v. UNMIK (case no. 222/09)
The complaint was lodged by Mrs Vinogorka Jovanović, the daughter of Mr Svetislav Jakšić, who on 5
July 1999, was reportedly abducted from his vehicle by a group of young men while he was waiting at a
set of traffic lights in Prishtinë/Priština. He was not seen alive again.
The Panel concluded that UNMIK had not properly investigated the alleged crime, thus violating the
complainant’s rights under Article 2 (procedural) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The text
of the Opinion will be published on the Panel’s webpage in approximately a months’ time.

Draginja Vujačić v. UNMIK (case no. 226/09)
The complaint was lodged by Mrs Draginja Vujačić, the wife of Mr Slobodan Vujačić, sister of Mr Luka
Petrušić and sister-in-law of Mrs Radmila Petrušić who on 17 June 1999, were reportedly abducted
from their family home in Banja e Pejes/Pećka Banja village, Istog/Istok municipality by KLA members.
Since that time, the whereabouts of all three persons have remained unknown. The complainant alleged
that UNMIK failed to properly investigate the abduction and probable killing of her family members,
which also caused her mental pain and suffering.
The Panel concluded that UNMIK had not properly investigated the alleged crime, thus violating the
complainant’s rights under Article 2 (procedural) and Article 3 (substantive) of the European Convention
on Human Rights. The text of the Opinion will be published on the Panel’s webpage in approximately a
months’ time.

Z.B. v. UNMIK (case no. 229/09)
The complaint was lodged by the wife of Mr Lj. B., an ethnic Serbian who was reportedly kidnapped on 9
June 1998, by KLA members and then reportedly transferred and detained in KFOR Camp Bondsteel, his
fate is unknown to date.
The Panel concluded that UNMIK had not properly investigated the alleged crime, thus violating the
complainant’s rights under Article 2 (procedural) and that UNMIK’s behaviour contributed to the
complainant’s mental suffering (violation of the European Convention of Human Rights, Article 3
substantive). The text of the Opinion will be published on the Panel’s webpage in approximately a
months’ time.

Bogoljub Šmigić v. UNMIK (cases nos 264/09 & 265/09)
The complaint was lodged by a the son of Mr Milosav Šmigić and Mrs Sultana Šmigić, ethnic Serbians
who were reportedly kidnapped on 9 June 1998, together with the other Kosovo Serbian residents
remaining in the village of Leçinë/Leočina, by KLA members with their fate unknown to date.
The Panel concluded that UNMIK failed to carry out an effective investigation into the abduction and
disappearance of Mr Milosav Šmigić and Mrs Sultana Šmigić, thus violating the complainant’s rights
under Article 2 (procedural) and that UNMIK’s behaviour contributed to the complainant’s mental
suffering (violation of the European Convention of Human Rights, Article 3 substantive). The text of the
Opinion will be published on the Panel’s webpage in approximately a months’ time.

Marija Stevanović v. UNMIK (case no. 289/09)
The complainant is the mother of Mr Dragan Stevanović, an ethnic Serbian who was abducted on 19
August 1999, together with Mr Ivan Majstorović (who was only 17 years old), by KLA members, while
they were travelling in Mr Dragan Stevanović’s vehicle. Since that time their whereabouts have
remained unknown. The complainant complains about UNMIK’s alleged failure to properly investigate
the abduction and disappearance of her son and about the mental pain and suffering allegedly caused to
herself and her family by this situation.
In relation to the closure of this investigation, the Panel, in particular, noted with concern that the file
was closed following a general policy by established in 2003 by UNMIK Department of Justice and
UNMIK Police aimed primarily at preserving the limited resources and concentrating only on the
investigations “with a strong likelihood of suspect identification”. In the Panel’s view, this policy has
seriously affected this, and probably many other investigations of similar nature. The Panel considered
this as an “indicator of a serious systemic failure in the functioning of the police and justice system
established by UNMIK”, in “a clear disconnect between the situation on the ground and the way it was
presented to the major stakeholders”.
The Panel concluded that UNMIK failed to carry out an effective investigation into the abduction and
disappearance of Mr Dragan Stevanović and that there has been a violation of Article 2, procedural limb,
of the European Convention of Human Rights and that by its behaviour, UNMIK contributed to the
complainant’s distress and mental suffering in violation of Article 3 of the ECHR. The text of the Opinion
will be published on the Panel’s webpage in approximately a months’ time.
Earlier Opinions Now Published
The Panel has now published on its website the following opinions, which had been adopted by the
Panel during its 76th session, in October 2014:

Dobrila Antić-Živković v. UNMIK (Case no. 147/09)
The complainant is the mother of Mr Zlatko Antić who was reportedly kidnapped while visiting a
neighbour along with another person by KLA members in Prizren on 28 July 1999. He was not seen alive
again. The name of Mr Zlatko Antić is mentioned in a document dating back to October 2003 prepared
by the UNMIK Department of Justice for the ICTY, about suspected trafficking in human beings by the
KLA, for the purposes of forced prostitution and organ harvesting.
The Panel concluded that UNMIK had not properly investigated the alleged crime, thus violating the
complainant’s rights under Article 2 (procedural) and by its behaviour, UNMIK contributed to the
complainant’s distress and mental suffering in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on
Human Rights. The full Opinion of the Panel can be accessed here in English, Albanian and Serbian.

Bosiljka Radovanović v. UNMIK (case no. 177/09)
The complainant is the wife of Mr Radovan Račić who went missing 11 June 1999. He was reportedly
shot by a group of unidentified armed Albanians in front of his flat, in the presence of an unnamed eyewitness.
After the killing, his body was taken away to an unknown location. The mortal remains were
later located near Ramoc, a village in the Gjakovë/Đakovica municipality. The mortal remains were
handed over to the complainant on 25 June 2007.
The Panel concluded that UNMIK had not properly investigated the alleged crime, thus violating the
complainant’s rights under Article 2 (procedural) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The full
Opinion of the Panel can be accessed here in English, Albanian and Serbian.
———————–
Olivera Budimir v. UNMIK (case no. 219/09)
The complainant is the widow of Mr Rade Budimir who states that on 2 August 1999, Mr Rade Budimir
was abducted from his mother’s apartment in Prishtinë/Priština. He was not seen alive again. The
complainant also states that on 5 August 1999, four suspects were arrested in Mr Rade Budimir’s flat by
KFOR, but apparently no criminal proceedings were initiated against them. The mortal remains of Mr
Rade Budimir were eventually located and returned to his family on 13 September 2002.
The Panel concluded that UNMIK failed to carry out an effective investigation into the abduction and
killing of Mr Rade Budimir, thus violating the complainant’s rights under Article 2 (procedural) of the
European Convention on Human Rights. The full Opinion of the Panel can be accessed here in English,
Albanian and Serbian.
———————–
Angelina Biševac v. UNMIK (case no. 223/09)
The complainant is the daughter of Mr Radota Gojković, who was reportedly kidnapped by KLA
members in Pejë/Peć in June 1999. His mortal remains were later located and identified and returned to
his family on 18 February 2003.
The Panel concluded that UNMIK failed to carry out an effective investigation into the disappearance
and death of Mr Radota Gojković, thus violating the complainant’s rights under Article 2 (procedural) of
the ECHR. The full Opinion of the Panel can be accessed here in English, Albanian and Serbian.
———————–
Slađana Remištar v. UNMIK (case no. 245/09)
The complainant is the wife of Mr Nenad Remištar, who worked as a traffic police officer at the
Gjakovё/Đakovica police station. She reports he was abducted on 13 June 1998 by KLA members, while
driving his car, taken to a KLA detention facility in Jabllanicë/Jablanica village, Gjakovё/Đakovica
municipality, and later executed. His mortal remains have never been located.
The abduction and probable killing of Mr Nenad Remištar was investigated by the ICTY, as a part of the
proceedings in the case Prosecutor v. Ramush Haradinaj, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj (IT-04-84).
Having expressed regrets that the investigation and the judicial proceedings at the ICTY, as well as those
conducted by UNMIK, have not to date been able to identify the persons responsible for the abduction
and probable killing of Mr Nenad Remištar and bring them to justice, the Panel concluded that, as far as
this investigation is attributable to the UNMIK authorities, there has been no violation of Article 2, Page 5 of 6
procedural limb, of the ECHR. Given the particular circumstances of the case and having found no
procedural violation of Article 2 by UNMIK, the Panel also considered that there has not been a violation
of Article 3 on the part of UNMIK.
Nevertheless, in the Panel’s view, as neither the mortal remains of the victim have been located, nor
those responsible for his abduction and probable killing have been brought to justice, the procedural
obligation under Article 2 of the ECHR was not discharged and should have been continued, although a
long time had passed from the alleged crimes. So, after the end of the ICTY proceedings, in accordance
with the continuous obligation to investigate, the competence to do so should have been transferred
back to EULEX, which on 9 December 2008 assumed full operational control in the area of the rule of law
in Kosovo. The full Opinion of the Panel can be accessed here in English, Albanian and Serbian.
———————–
Cica Janković v. UNMIK (case no. 249/09)
The complainant is the mother of Mr Marjan Melonaši, a journalist of the Serbian Language Editorial
Service of the Radio and Television of Kosovo (RTK). According to the complainant, on 6 September 2000
at around 14:10, her son left the RTK premises, apparently heading home. Since that time his
whereabouts have remained unknown.
The Panel concluded that UNMIK failed to carry out an effective investigation into the disappearance of
Mr Marjan Melonaši, thus violating the complainant’s rights under Article 2 (procedural) and that
UNMIK’s behaviour contributed to the complainant’s mental suffering thus violating Article 3
(substantive) of the ECHR. The full Opinion of the Panel can be accessed here in English, Albanian and
Serbian.
In particular, the Panel also expressed its concern that inaction of the authorities indicates certain
reluctance on the part of UNMIK Police to pursue the investigation, in particular when there were
indications of politically motivated violence pointing towards persons associated with the KLA. The full
Opinion of the Panel can be accessed here in English, Albanian and Serbian.
———————–
Verica Patronogić v. UNMIK (case no. 252/09)
The complainant is the wife of Mr Mlađan Mavrić. She states that her husband was wounded during the
NATO bombing. After the arrival of KFOR in Kosovo they stayed in the village of Hoçë e Madhe/Velika
Hoča, municipality of Rahovec/Orahovac, until 12 October 1999, when Mr Mlađan Mavrić was
kidnapped by unknown persons. In November 2003, she was informed that the mortal remains of her
husband had been located on 22 November 2002 in the village of Brestovc/Brestovac and that the
process of his identification had lasted for one year. Mr Mlađan Mavrić was buried on 30 November
2003 in Hoçë e Madhe/Velika Hoča.
The Panel concluded that UNMIK failed to carry out an effective investigation into the abduction and
killing of Mr Mlađan Mavrić and that has accordingly been a violation of Article 2, procedural limb, of
the European Convention on Human Rights. The full Opinion of the Panel can be accessed here in
English, Albanian and Serbian.

Milorad Andrejević v. UNMIK (case no. 282/09)
The complainant is the brother of Mr Dušan Andrejević, an ethnic Serbian from Kosovo. He states that
on 11 June 1999, Mr Dušan Andrejević and other persons were travelling through Lipjan/Lipljan
municipality when he stopped to assist his cousins with their broken tractor. He went missing from the
group he was travelling with and since that time his whereabouts have remained unknown.
The Panel concluded that UNMIK failed to carry out an effective investigation into the disappearance of
Mr Dušan Andrejević. There has accordingly been a violation of Article 2, procedural limb and that by its
behaviour, UNMIK contributed to the complainant’s distress and mental suffering in violation of Article
3 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

* The Human Rights Advisory Panel (the Panel) examines complaints of alleged human rights violations committed by or attributable to the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and makes recommendations to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) in Kosovo when appropriate. The Panel is composed of three Panel Members who sit in Prishtinë/Priština each month to render determinations on complaints against UNMIK. The Presiding Member directs the work of the Panel and the Prishtinë/Priština-based Secretariat provides it with legal and administrative support.

 
Any person who believes that UNMIK is responsible for a violation of their human rights can complain to the Panel to seek a determination of that allegation. Such persons initiate the complaint procedure by submitting a complaint to the Panel. The Panel then determines whether that complaint is admissible based on the applicable legislation and renders a decision to that effect.
 
If a complaint is admissible, the Panel will then render an opinion on whether UNMIK is responsible for a violation of one of the various human rights instruments in force in Kosovo. If the Panel determines that a violation has occurred, the opinion may include recommendations to the SRSG. The SRSG must then publicly state how he/she will react to those recommendations.
 
The Human Rights Advisory Panel is the only human rights mechanism in existence that deals specifically with human rights violations allegedly committed by or attributable to a United Nations field mission.