The Serbian state as known today was created in 1170 A.D. by Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the Nemanjic dynasty. Serbia's religious foundation came several years later when Stefan's son, canonized as St. Sava, became the first archbishop of a newly autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church (1219). Thus, at this time, the Serbs enjoyed both temporal and religious independence. After a series of successions, Serbia fell under the rule of King Milutin who improved Serbia's position among other European countries. Milutin also was responsible for many of the brightest examples of Medieval Serbian architecture. Moreover, Serbia began to expand under Milutin's reign, seizing territory in nearby Macedonia from the Byzantines. Under Milutin's son, Stefan Dusan (1331-55), the Nemanjic dynasty reached its peak, ruling from the Danube to central Greece. However, Serbian power waned after Stefan's death in 1355, and in the Battle of Kosovo (June 15, 1389) the Serbs were catastrophically defeated by the Turks. By 1459, the Turks exerted complete control over all Serb lands.
For more than 3 centuries--nearly 370 years--the Serbs lived as virtual slaves of the Ottoman sultans. As a result of this great oppression, Serbs began to migrate out of their native and (present-day Kosovo and southern Serbia) into other areas within the Balkan Peninsula, including what is now Vojvodina and Croatia. When the Austrian Hapsburg armies pushed the Ottoman Turks south of the Danube in 699, many Serbs were "liberated", but their native land was still under Ottoman rule.
Movements for Serbian independence began more than 100 years later with uprisings under the Serbian patriots Karageorge (1804-13) and Milos Obrenovic (1815-17). After the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-29, Serbia became an internationally recognized principality under Turkish suzerainty and Russian protection, and the state expanded steadily southward. After an insurrection in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1875, Serbia and Montenegro went to war against Turkey in 1876-78 in support of the Bosnian rebels. With Russian assistance, Serbs gained more territory as well as formal independence in 1878, though Bosnia was placed under Austrian administration.
In 1908, Austria-Hungary directly annexed Bosnia, inciting the Serbs to seek the aid of Montenegro, Bulgaria, and Greece in seizing the last Ottoman-ruled lands in Europe. In the ensuing Balkan Wars of 1912-13, Serbia obtained northern and central Macedonia, but Austria compelled it to yield Albanian lands that would have given it access to the sea. Serb animosity against the Hapsburgs reached a climax on June 28, 1914, when the Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo by a Bosnian Serb, Gavrilo Princip, setting off a series of diplomatic and military initiatives among the great powers that culminated in World War I.
Soon after the war began, Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian forces occupied Serbia. Upon the collapse of Austria-Hungary at the war's end in 1918, Vojvodina and Montenegro united with Serbia, and former south Slav subjects of the Hapsburgs sought the protection of the Serbian crown within a kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. Serbia was the dominant partner in this state, which in 1929 adopted the name Yugoslavia.
The kingdom soon encountered resistance when Croatians began to resent control from Belgrade. This pressure prompted King Alexander I to split the traditional regions into nine administrative provinces. During World War II, Yugoslavia was divided between the Axis powers and their allies. Royal army soldiers, calling themselves Cetnici (Chetniks), formed a Serbian resistance movement, but a more determined communist resistance under the Partisans, with Soviet and Anglo-American help, liberated all of Yugoslavia by 1944. In an effort to avoid Serbian domination during the post-war years, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Montenegro were given separate and equal republican status within the new socialist federation of Yugoslavia; Kosovo and Vojvodina were made autonomous provinces within Yugoslavia.
Despite the attempts at a federal system of government for Yugoslavia, Serbian communists played the leading role in Yugoslavia's political life for the next 4 decades. As the Germans were defeated at the end of World War II, Josip Broz Tito, a former Bolshevik and devout communist, began to garner support from both within Yugoslavia as well as from the Allies. Yugoslavia remained independent of the U.S.S.R., as Tito broke with Stalin and asserted Yugoslav independence. Tito went on to control Yugoslavia for 35 years. Under communist rule, Serbia was transformed from an agrarian to an industrial society. In the 1980s, however, Yugoslavia's economy began to fail. With the death of Tito, separatist and nationalist tensions emerged in Yugoslavia. In 1989, riding a wave of nationalist sentiment, Serbia's leadership reimposed direct rule over the autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina, prompting Albanians in Kosovo to agitate for separation from the Republic of Serbia. Between 1991 and 1992, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia all seceded from Yugoslavia. On April 27, 1992 in Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro joined in passing the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Montenegro's history is almost inextricably tied to Serbia's. Similarly to Serbia, Montenegro was under the rule of the Ottoman Turks for the duration of their reign in the Balkans. When the Turks were removed from the area, Montenegro became an independent principality within the Austro-Hungarian Empire but did not become an independent, sovereign state until 1878.
During World War I, Montenegro fought on the side of the Allies but was defeated and occupied by Austria. Upon Austrian occupation, the Montenegrin king, King Nikola I, and his family fled to Italy. Consequently, the Serbian king, Petar Karadjordjevic, was able to exploit the chaotic conditions in Montenegro at the war's end, paving the way for the violent and unwanted Serbian annexation of Montenegro.
Montenegro was the only Allied country in World War I to be annexed to another country at the end of the war. The majority of the Montenegrin population opposed the annexation and on January 7, 1919, staged a national uprising--known to history as the Christmas Uprising--against the Serbian annexation. The uprising became a war between Serbia and the Montenegrins that lasted until 1926. Many Montenegrins lost their lives, and though many hoped for an intervention by the Great Powers to protect their sovereignty, none came and Montenegro was effectively absorbed into the new kingdom of Yugoslavia.
When Yugoslavia was invaded and partitioned by the Axis powers in April 1941, Montenegro was appropriated by the Italians under a nominally autonomous administration. This caused a great divide within the Montenegrin population. Many nationalists who had been frustrated with the experience of Yugoslav unification supported the Italian administration. Also, there were advocates of the union with Serbia who began armed resistance movements as well as many communists who, by nature of their political beliefs, were opposed to the Italian presence. As war progressed, the local strength of the communists grew and Montenegro served as an effective base for communism in the region; it was an important refuge for Tito's Partisan forces during the most difficult points in the struggle. After the war, the communist strategy of attempting to unify Yugoslavia through a federal structure elevated Montenegro to the status of a republic, thus securing Montenegrin loyalty to the federation.
The breakup of the Yugoslav federation after 1989 left Montenegro in a precarious position. The first multiparty elections in 1990 showed much public support for the League of Communists, confirming Montenegrin support for the federation. Montenegro joined Serbian efforts to preserve the federation in the form of a "Third Yugoslavia" in 1992. Though Montenegro reaffirmed its political attachment to Serbia, a sense of a distinct Montenegrin identity continued to thrive. Outspoken criticism of Serbian conduct of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina boosted the continuing strength of Montenegrin distinctiveness. Both the people and the government of Montenegro were critical of Slobodon Milosevic's campaign in Kosovo, and the ruling coalition parties boycotted the September 2000 federal elections, which saw the electoral defeat of Milosevic and subsequent overthrow of his regime. The Belgrade Agreement of March 2002, signed by the heads of the federal and republican governments, set forth the parameters for a redefinition of Montenegro's relationship with Serbia within a joint state; however, by Summer 2002 debate over the details of the new federal structure was still ongoing in both Montenegro and Serbia.
Today, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Yugoslavia), a constitutional republic consisting of the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Montenegro, has a president and a parliamentary system of government based on multiparty elections. Vojislav Kostunica was elected President of the Federation in elections held on September 24, 2000 that were closely contested; President Slobodan Milosevic ultimately was unable to manipulate the elections. Massive public protests forced Milosevic to recognize his defeat and cede power on October 6, 2000. Under the constitutional framework, the Federation encompasses the Republics of Serbia and Montenegro; however, the Montenegrin Government has refused to participate in many of the functions of the Federal Government and has acted unilaterally in several areas. The Federal Government presides over a weakened structure, with responsibilities essentially limited to the Foreign Ministry, the Yugoslav Army (VJ), the Customs Administration, civil aviation control, and foreign economic and commercial relations. Although President Kostunica enjoyed wide popular support, significant power was concentrated at the republic level where, in Serbia, Prime Minister Djindjic exercises significant executive authority. Djindjic also has represented Serbia in discussions and negotiations with the international community. In Montenegro President Milo Djukanovic leads a coalition that exercises executive authority. The judiciary remained subject to some political influence.
The internal security situation in Yugoslavia threatened national security in 1990. Internal ethnic tensions were a potential hindrance to defense against external threats. As was demonstrated in World War II, such discord could be exploited by an aggressor to overcome the Yugoslav armed forces and occupy the country. Even without external pressures, open civil war among different nationalities seemed a real possibility in 1990. Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, Croats, and Slovenes felt that internal security provisions were applied against them with unwarranted severity. After the fall of East European communist regimes in 1989, the internal forces aroused by such suspicions and resentments overshadowed any external threat to national security.
Although ordinary crime was an increasing problem in Yugoslav society of the 1980s, political crime or dissidence was more widely publicized. Dissident activities ranged from peaceful protest and publication to the sensational politically motivated violence, assassination, and terrorism that had marked the country's history. In the 1980s, nationalism was the force behind the most visible dissident activity. Deemed a threat to the unity of the Yugoslav federation, the advocacy of nationalism was officially considered criminal. Military courts exercised jurisdiction in all cases of dissidence, because all forms of such activity were considered a threat to national security. In the 1980s, civilian internal security forces proved unable to manage large-scale political unrest effectively; they depended increasingly on YPA intervention in internal security matters.
Economic performance remained weak due to general inefficiency in the economy and corruption. Lack of purchasing power, high unemployment and underemployment, and high inflation sharply restricted the consumer base. While damage to infrastructure and to the refineries from NATO's bombing in 1999 gradually was being repaired, transportation within and through Serbia remained a problem. Overall unemployment was estimated at approximately 30 percent. The country's population was approximately 10,662,000 and per capita GDP was approximately $988. The general level of corruption in society remained high. Although the agricultural sector was undercapitalized, Serbia was self-sufficient in food. The private sector was widely evident throughout the country. A significant reform of the tax system was implemented during the year 2001 and the Serbian Government assessed a special "extra profit tax" on numerous companies and individuals who allegedly made excess profits under the Milosevic regime. Foreign aid is an important source of Government revenue, and the Government uses it to repair infrastructure and to care for a large population of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP's).
Religious affiliation in Yugoslavia was closely linked with the politics of nationality; centuries-old animosities among the country's three main religions, Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Islam, remained a divisive factor in 1990. Forced conversions of Orthodox Serbs to Roman Catholicism by ultranationalist Croatian priests during World War II had made a lasting impression; more recently, Serbian official spokesmen often characterized Serbian conflicts with Kosovan nationalists as a struggle between Christianity and Islam. Religious tension existed even in the most prosperous regions: in the 1980s, local politicians delayed construction of an Orthodox church in Split and a mosque in Ljubljana, both predominantly Roman Catholic cities.
The distribution of Yugoslavia's major religions followed the country's internal borders only roughly. Serbia and Montenegro were under the ecclesiastical authority of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Macedonia had its own Macedonian Orthodox Church after 1967, but that republic also included many Muslim ethnic Albanians. Croatia and Slovenia were predominantly Roman Catholic, but many Orthodox Serbs also lived in Croatia, and the Muslim Slav and ethnic Albanian populations of Slovenia were growing. Bosnia and Hercegovina contained a mixture of Muslim Slavs, Orthodox Serbs, and Catholic Croats. Vojvodina had significant numbers of Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant believers; Kosovo was predominantly Muslim, although about 10 percent of the province's ethnic Albanians were Roman Catholic and virtually all its Serbs were Eastern Orthodox.
Besides Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Islam, about forty other religious groups were represented in Yugoslavia. They included the Jews, Old Catholic Church, Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, Hare Krishnas, and other eastern religions. Major Protestant groups were the Calvinist Reformed Church, Evangelical Church, Baptist Church, Methodist Church, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Pentecostal Church of Christ.
The connection between religious belief and nationality posed a special threat to the postwar Communist government's official policies of national unity and a federal state structure. Although postwar constitutions provided for separation of church and state and guaranteed freedom of religion, church-state relations in the postwar period were often tense when the government attempted to reduce church influence. From 1945 to the early-1950s, the authorities carried out antichurch campaigns that imprisoned, tortured, and killed many members of the clergy. The government subsequently established a general policy of rapprochement, but until the 1980s the state still exerted pressure on many religious communities. Yugoslavs who openly practiced a religious faith often were limited to low-paying, low-status jobs. After Tito's death in 1980, the Yugoslav government no longer pursued a consistent policy toward the country's churches. After that time, each republic and province followed policies toward religion that were acceptable at home but sometimes unacceptable in other parts of the country.
Political liberalization in the late 1980s brought Yugoslavia's religious communities a level of freedom unprecedented in the postwar period. The spring of 1990 marked the beginning of a religious revival throughout the country. On Easter 1990, television stations throughout the country covered Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic services for the first time; two weeks later, Belgrade television broadcast prayers marking the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. With the rebirth of Western-style democracy in Yugoslavia, fundamental amendments were expected in laws banning church involvement in politics, education, social and interethnic affairs, and military training.
Religious belief declined significantly in Yugoslavia after World War II, but the drop was not uniform throughout the country. In the censuses of 1921 and 1948, religious believers accounted for over 99 percent of the population. Secularization followed closely the postwar government programs of modernization, urbanization, and vigorous antireligious propaganda. A 1964 survey (Yugoslavia's last nationwide study of religion through 1990) described 70.3 percent of Yugoslavs as religious believers. The areas with the highest percentage of religious believers were Kosovo (91 percent of the population) and Bosnia and Hercegovina (83.8 percent); those with the lowest were Slovenia (65.4 percent), Serbia (63.7 percent), and Croatia (63.6 percent). Although hard figures were not available, in the late 1980s signs indicated a resurgence of religious belief, especially among young people.
Yugoslavia's Islamic community, the largest in any European country west of Turkey, included about 4 million people concentrated among three ethnic groups: Muslim Slavs, located in Bosnia and Hercegovina and Kosovo; ethnic Albanians, primarily in Kosovo, the town of Novi Pazar in Serbia, and Macedonia; and Turks inhabiting the same regions as the Albanians. Most of the Muslim Slavs and Albanians converted to Islam in the early stages of Ottoman occupation to gain the higher social status that Ottoman policy afforded to converts. They were the only groups in the European provinces of the Ottoman Empire to convert in large numbers.
In 1930 Yugoslavia's separate Muslim groups united under the authority of a single ulama, (religious scholar), the Rais-ul Ulama, who enforced Islamic religious and legal dogma and managed the affairs of the Islamic community. Headquartered in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia's Islamic community included about 3,000 religious leaders and 3,000 mosques in the 1980s. Some Yugoslav Muslim officials studied at Islamic institutions abroad. Financial contributions from Islamic countries such as Libya and Saudi Arabia helped fund many of the 800 mosques constructed in Yugoslavia after World War II. In 1985 a "grand mosque" was opened in Zagreb after years of delay. The only Islamic school of theology in Europe was located in Sarajevo, and Islamic secondary schools operated in Sarajevo, Skopje, and Pristina. A religious school for women, attached to the Islamic secondary school in Sarajevo, had a capacity of sixty. The Islamic community of Yugoslavia published a variety of newspapers and periodicals.
Relations of the postwar communist government with the Islamic community were less troubled than those with the Orthodox or Roman Catholic churches. Yugoslavia's Islamic leaders generally had kept a low profile during World War II, although the authorities condemned the mufti of Zagreb to death for allegedly inciting Muslims to murder Serbs. In the 1960s and 1970s, Tito used Yugoslavia's Islamic community to maintain friendly relations with oil-producing Arab countries because Yugoslavia needed access to inexpensive oil. But after the 1979 fundamentalist revolution in Iran, the Yugoslav government reviewed its policy on potentially destabilizing contacts between Yugoslav Muslims and Middle Eastern governments. The ulama responded by disavowing all connection with the pan-Islamic movement.
Besides mainstream Sunni Islam, the Yugoslav Muslim population also included several small groups such as the Bektashi dervishes. Founded in the thirteenth century, the Bektashi sect was one of the official religions of Kosovo under the tolerant policy of the Ottoman Turks. Its practice disregards much of traditional Islamic ritual and contains some Christian elements, especially in areas where Christianity is the prevalent religion. After Turkey dissolved its Bektashi orders in 1925, the sect survived only in the Balkans.
Official Yugoslav sources reported that political offenses increased dramatically during the 1980s. Each year several hundred individuals were arrested on political charges. Those arrested generally were either intellectuals arguing for greater freedom of expression or nationalists agitating for change in the composition of the federal republic. Violent incidents were rare when compared with peaceful expressions of dissident political ideas.
The Yugoslav Constitution of 1974 guarantees the citizen many basic rights and freedoms, including petition (article 157), opinion (article 166), press, media, speech, expression, association, and assembly (article 167), movement and abode (article 183), inviolability of the home (article 184), and confidentiality of communication (article 185). Nevertheless, throughout the 1970s and 1980s, writers, poets, sociologists, philosophers, and ordinary citizens received harsh punishments for exercising the basic political freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution as well as by international conventions to which Yugoslavia was a signatory. Major loopholes in the civil rights language of the Constitution legalized prosecution for undefined activities inimical to the established constitutional order. By 1990 many proposals for a new Constitution called for elimination of the vague language that had allowed selective prosecution. Given the open political climate in other Eastern European states by 1990, Yugoslav government and LCY officials became increasingly sensitive to descriptions of Yugoslavia as a police state. Internal and external political events pressured the government and party toward competing with politically unacceptable opinions and ideas rather than imposing prison sentences on those who expressed them.
The federal criminal code of 1977 contained one chapter on petty offenses against the social system and security of the country. It included a number of political offenses and so-called "verbal crimes," another catchall category under which many types of opposition could be thwarted. Any article, pamphlet, or speech advocating changes in the socialist self-management system, disrupting the unity of nations and nationalities, or maliciously or untruthfully portraying sociopolitical conditions in the country was punishable by one to ten years in prison (article 133). Also known as the law on hostile propaganda, this was the most infamous and frequently applied criminal law against political activity. A conviction on charges of hostile propaganda did not require the prosecution to prove that the article, pamphlet, or speech in question was malicious or untruthful.
Article 133 carried a mandatory three-year sentence in cases with foreign involvement. Preparing, possessing, or reproducing such material for dissemination could bring a prison term of five years. A sentence for violating article 133 usually was followed by a ban on public appearance and expression for several years. The law criminalized open criticism of the one-party political system, the LCY, or Tito; possession of unsanctioned historical treatises or emigre newspapers; granting interviews or writing works published abroad; authoring political graffiti; and circulating petitions to delete article 133 from the criminal code. The hostile propaganda law was applied strictly against Yugoslav workers abroad, who often returned with émigré literature or newspapers in their possession. A less serious category of "verbal crime" was described as damaging the reputation of the state, its leaders, or symbols and spreading false rumors. Such activity was punishable by short prison terms of one or two months.
In the wake of the Kosovo unrest in 1981, more than 2,000 ethnic Albanians, many of them students and instructors at Pristina University, were arrested on charges of damaging official reputations. About 250 people received sentences under article 133 for terms of one to fifteen years. Another 250 people received fines or sentences of sixty days for lesser "verbal crimes." Although some violent clashes had occurred, most convictions were for shouting or painting slogans on walls or distributing pamphlets or poems.
Several other laws criminalized peaceful political or nationalist association and assembly. Such activities included participation in hostile activity (article 131), incitement to national hatred (article 134), association for the purpose of hostile activity (article 136), and counterrevolutionary endangering of the social order (article 114). The maximum sentence among those provisions was eight years in prison. Yugoslavs abroad who contacted émigré political parties or nationalist groups or who participated in demonstrations inside the country have been sentenced under these laws. After the Croatian nationalist crisis of 1969-71, over 500 Croats were sentenced using those provisions. Article 134 in particular was applied to silence individuals who raised the political, economic, or cultural grievances of a particular nation or nationality, or who complained of discrimination against such a group. The provision was used to prevent the public use of national flags and songs representing the ethnic groups of the Yugoslav federation.
In the absence of legal means of peaceful political expression, many individuals and groups resorted to violence. Several nationalist organizations maintained armed paramilitary or terrorist units. Their actions had the negative effect of justifying government repression of peaceful as well as violent dissidents. Nationalist groups aimed bombing and sabotage attacks at official targets in Yugoslavia and abroad.
The secret police relentlessly pursued underground nationalist groups. In 1984 twenty-three Croats identified with the separatist Croatian Militant Unity group were convicted for allegedly smuggling arms into the country and perpetrating a series of bombings. The next year, six Macedonians were imprisoned for a campaign of bombings during the early 1970s.
After two decades of unrest, ethnic Albanians in Kosovo increasingly turned to violence. They occasionally used firearms and explosives against the security forces, occupying YPA troops, and Serbs in Kosovo. This development indicated the adverse consequences of universal military training in a tense ethnic situation. Many ethnic Albanians involved in violent activity apparently had learned to handle weapons in the army or TDF. One group in Kosovo hijacked a government vehicle carrying small arms.
INCIDENCE OF CRIME
Yugoslavia has provided data neither for United Nations nor INTERPOL surveys of crime; however, an estimate of crime is given in the United States State Department's Consular Information Sheet according to which ... "No specific threats or acts of violence involving American citizens have been reported since the Kostunica government took office in October, 2000. However, a potential for hostility towards U.S. citizens still exists as a result of the 1999 conflict between members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Serbian forces. In recent years, there has been an increase in street crime in the large cities. This may partially be attributed to difficult economic conditions and to the growth of an organized criminal class. Confrontational and gratuitously violent crimes rarely target tourists. Theft and carjacking, especially of four-wheel drive vehicles and luxury cars are prevalent. Several high-profile murders and kidnappings in recent years remain unsolved."
Internal security forces were instrumental in establishing and maintaining the communist-controlled Yugoslav state after World War II. They were responsible for identifying and prosecuting Ustase leaders and others who collaborated with occupying German and Italian forces during World War II. But alleged collaboration became a pretext for reprisals against political opponents such as the Cetnici and others who did not support Tito's Partisans. Many, including Cetnik leader Draza Mihajlovic and Croatian Roman Catholic archbishop Stepinac, were executed or imprisoned after summary trials.
After the break in relations with the Soviet Union in 1948, the Yugoslav government feared that the Soviet Union might find or create a group within Yugoslavia to request Soviet intervention to assist it in "preserving socialism." The Yugoslav security agency investigated more than 50,000 alleged "Cominformists" or pro-Soviet party members, who were subsequently purged from the party. Several thousand were eventually jailed, either without trials or after show trials. They were interned in political prisons at Goli Otok in the Adriatic, Sremska Mitrovica in Vojvodina, and Stara Gradiska in Bosnia. Others were subjected to administrative punishment or petty harassment.
The Soviet Union formed the orthodox Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) in exile in 1948 to rally Tito's opponents and to topple him. An estimated 200 to 300 Yugoslav "Cominformists" ( Cominform--see Glossary) took up residence in Moscow. The YPA was an important target of their anti-Tito propaganda. The CPY held meetings outside the Soviet Union and clandestine party congresses inside Yugoslavia. During this time, Yugoslav internal security forces exercised great power and directed much of it at the army. Security agents exposed many real or suspected Soviet operatives in high positions in the army, and some of those accused were executed. The resulting bitterness and rivalry between the internal security forces and the army survived for decades afterward.
In 1966 a major purge of the Yugoslav internal security forces benefited the military in this rivalry. The de facto chief of the Department of State Security, or secret police (Uprava drzavne bezbednosti--UDB), Aleksandar Rankovic, was involved in the behind-the scenes struggle to succeed Tito. Allegedly on orders from Rankovic, the UDB covertly monitored the telephone calls of all major party leaders, including Tito. When Rankovi was finally dismissed, however, the official announcement mentioned only his responsibility for UDB brutality and repression of Kosovo's Albanian population. The military equivalent of the UDB, the Military Counterintelligence Service (Kontraobavesajna Sluzba--KOS) was instrumental in exposing UDB activities. The UDB was purged, its name was changed to State Security Service (Sluzba drzavne bezbednosti--SDB), and a YPA colonel general became its chief. In its new form the agency retained substantial secret police powers.
The army has maintained some control over the civilian security service since the 1966 purge. After the Croatian nationalist unrest of 1971, a colonel general became federal secretary for internal affairs (the secretariat controlling the SDB), and another became federal public prosecutor. Using such appointments, the military controlled the internal security forces until 1984. In 1990 a former chief of the YPA general staff was federal secretary for internal affairs.
During the 1980s, the SDB actively pursued its mission of identifying and neutralizing émigré organizations in foreign countries to inhibit their efforts to establish contacts and support inside Yugoslavia. A small number of émigré groups of various political persuasions and nationalities committed violent acts against Yugoslav interests abroad. Those acts sometimes included assassinations of Yugoslav diplomats or representatives abroad. Special attention went to pro-Soviet Yugoslav exiles, whose activities against the Yugoslav government were well supported by Soviet funds. Believing that such groups threatened public order, the SDB and its clandestine foreign intelligence units used various means to counter their activities. The SDB monitored the activities of the pro-Soviet CPY in Yugoslavia and other countries. In 1974 thirty-two Montenegrins convicted of organizing a CPY congress received prison terms of up to fourteen years. A long investigation of this case ended in the arrest of a Soviet diplomat in 1976.
Another major task of the SDB was to monitor Croatian organizations in Austria, Sweden, France, West Germany, Canada, and the United States. Surveillance of those groups provided evidence for prosecuting Yugoslavs who contacted them when abroad and then returned home. The SDB reportedly abducted and assassinated prominent émigrés. A former YPA colonel who escaped imprisonment as an alleged "Cominformist" in 1948 was seized in Romania in 1976, clandestinely returned to Yugoslavia, and jailed. As many as twenty troublesome émigrés may have been killed in Europe by the SDB, other Yugoslav operatives, or their paid agents since the early 1970s. In 1981 two West Germans and one Yugoslav were convicted for murdering an émigré in West Germany. They were allegedly paid a large sum to kill a former SDB agent who defected from the security service while abroad. However, the Yugoslav government contended that most violence against emigres was committed by rival émigré organizations, not by the SDB.
The Council for the Protection of the Constitutional Order was the highest government organization responsible for internal security matters. Its chairman was the president of the collective State Presidency, and its membership included the federal secretary for internal affairs, the federal secretary for national defense, and other military, party, and civilian officials. Under the Constitution, the State Presidency has the authority to order the use of the armed forces in peacetime to ensure internal security. It can suspend any provision in the Constitution if necessary for defense and security during war or imminent danger of war.
Considerable police and paramilitary power was concentrated in the Federal Secretariat for Internal Affairs, which supervised the work of subordinate secretariats for internal affairs in the republics and autonomous provinces. Besides the SDB, the national secretariat included the Office of the Federal Public Prosecutor, who in turn controlled public prosecutors in the republics.
The SDB was responsible for identifying and neutralizing subversive elements regarded as threats to the constitutional order and the socialist self-management system. Both violent groups and peaceful dissidents were included in this broad category. Plainclothes SDB agents investigated and monitored such groups and infiltrated their ranks. One of the SDB's most effective weapons was the concept of social self-protection. It was the equivalent of the Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) in internal security matters. Article 173 of the Constitution declared the duty of all citizens to participate in social selfprotection by reporting immediately to the SDB their knowledge of "hostile activities" including ordinary crime, political offenses, and terrorism.
The Federal Secretariat for Internal Affairs also controlled a federal paramilitary force, the People's Militia, which numbered more than 15,000 troops. This force operated numerous BOV-M armored vehicles equipped with machine guns, water cannons, smoke and tear gas launchers for crowd control and riot situations, armored personnel carriers, and helicopters. These internal security troops were well paid, heavily indoctrinated, experienced, and reliable. They could be deployed in times of political unrest or disorder when the local police were expected to side with the populace against federal authorities. The People's Militia provided security for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. The federal secretariat also controlled 15,000 troops in border guard units. In coastal areas, the border guards operated sixteen patrol boats in 1990.
The secretariats for internal affairs in the republics and autonomous provinces controlled the militia (regular police) forces in their territory. In 1990 there were an estimated 40,000 professional law enforcement officers. They were responsible for maintaining government communications, issuing travel documents to citizens, and registering foreign residents. The average militia officer was male, twenty-two years of age, and had completed his secondary education in special schools operated by the federal secretariat for internal affairs. Select militia officers were later sent for a university education.
The militia were organized into stations and substations in larger cities. They were involved in routine law enforcement as well as more sensitive cases involving ethnic groups. Cases ranged from physical attacks and harassment to homicide. In Pristina, site of a major university and a center of Albanian ethnic dissidence, every confrontation with authority had the potential to erupt into large disturbances between ethnic communities. In 1990 that city had seven militia stations and four substations, serving a population of 400,000.
The YPA became involved in internal security when unrest in Kosovo escalated in 1981. Under a declaration of national emergency, the army intervened to stop demonstrations by ethnic Albanians beyond the control of the LCY, People's Militia, and local militia. Hundreds of citizens were injured and some were killed during the YPA's suppression of the demonstrations. Some reports indicated that one-fourth of the YPA's total manpower remained in Kosovo to maintain order throughout the 1980s. The YPA presence added to local resentment; demonstrations resumed in 1987 and continued through the end of the decade.
Use of military force against the domestic population to maintain order aroused controversy. Top government and party leaders, rank and file military, and government critics expressed varying opinions. Political leaders expected the military to ensure the unity of Yugoslavia and preserve its constitutional order against internal threats. Yet the internal security mission put the YPA under great stress because it was not structured or equipped for such activity. In Kosovo the YPA suffered intense hostility from the entire ethnic Albanian population, including armed attacks by local militants. Some officers believed involvement in ethnic problems put the army in a dangerous position of opposing large segments of society. More importantly, they believed that such involvement might weaken or divide the YPA. Many in this group preferred to stay in the barracks and concentrate on defense against foreign aggression. Outside critics of the YPA also argued that its only legitimate role was external defense, and that the army was a bulwark of the excessive centralism opposed by many citizens. The YPA seemed to be involved in all Yugoslavia's political and social crises. Some citizens looked to it for solutions; others viewed it as part of the country's problems.
The controversy surrounding the role of the YPA in 1990 meant that the political and social tensions of Yugoslavia had finally begun to affect the last bastion of all-Yugoslav solidarity. Significant reduction in the threat of foreign invasion and the urgent need for reduction in a high military budget also brought major changes in actual Yugoslav military practice--although in 1990 the World-War-II-vintage doctrine of civilian defense forces and preparation for invasion remained in place. At the policy level, Yugoslavia's nonaligned military position remained firm; greater emphasis on domestic arms manufacture and reduced reliance on the Soviet Union and other suppliers, strengthened that position. Meanwhile, Yugoslav security forces continued to monitor dissident activity at home and abroad. As nationalist political activism increased in the 1980s, the role of the security forces increased, particularly in turbulent Kosovo. By 1990, however, the democratization of neighboring countries and the pluralization of Yugoslav society exerted substantial pressure to abolish laws that justified arbitrary prosecution of domestic dissident activity. Many observers believed that the fragmentation threatened by reduced control of nationalist activity might become a justification for military intervention in national politics, or for expanded use of the YPA in quelling civil disturbances.
Today, the Yugoslav military (the VJ) is formally under the control of the Supreme Defense Council, made up of the Presidents of Yugoslavia, Serbia, and Montenegro; however, in practice the military Chief of Staff reports directly to the President of Yugoslavia, and is subject to little other civilian oversight. The Federal Government also controls a small police detachment for security of federal buildings and officials. The Interior Minister of the Republic of Serbia controls the powerful Serbian police, a force of approximately 80,000 officers, many of whom also served under former President Milosevic. The Serbian police are responsible for internal security and border checkpoints. In March the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) approved a program, drafted by Deputy Prime Minister Nebosja Covic, to allow the gradual reentry of the Yugoslav Joint Security Forces--VJ and Serbian police--into the ground safety zone (GSZ), which began in March and was completed on May 31. The GSZ had been created in June 1999 when NATO and Yugoslav officials signed the Kumanovo Agreement, ending NATO action against the country. Under the agreement, the GSZ was created around Kosovo as a buffer zone to minimize the potential for accidental conflict; Yugoslav and Serbian security forces were excluded from the GSZ. The GSZ unintentionally became a safe haven for armed ethnic-Albanian groups, including the insurgency group known as the Liberation Army of Presevo, Bujanovac, and Medvedje (UCPMB). The security forces committed some human rights abuses.
There were no reports during the year 2001 of political killings committed by the Government or its agents.
Government forces killed some combatants as a result of tensions that escalated during the year 2001 in the region of southern Serbia that borders Kosovo and encompasses the municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac, and Medvedja. The majority of the population in the region is ethnic Albanian. In November 2000, four Serbian policemen were shot and killed outside the village of Lucane (5 kilometers outside the town of Bujanovac), which precipitated a crisis in the region early in the year between the Government and the UCPMB. During the conflict, Federal and Serbian authorities killed less than 35 combatants. For example, on March 24, Serb authorities killed an ethnic Albanian UCPMB member near Konculj. On May 24, VJ troops killed UCPMB leader Ridvan Qazimi, known as Commander Leshi, in an exchange of fire in the GSZ; the VJ stated that Leshi's killing was accidental.
UCPMB forces killed approximately 10 ethnic-Albanian civilians during the conflict. In May UCPMB landmine explosions killed several Serb children. UCPMB forces killed approximately 30 VJ soldiers and police officers during the conflict. For example, on January 28, UCPMB forces killed a VJ soldier. On February 18, a landmine planted by the UCPMB killed three Serbian police officers near Lucane. In late February an unknown assailant believed to be a member of the UCPMB killed two policemen in the GSZ. On March 7, a landmine allegedly planted by the UCPMB killed two VJ soldiers. On August 3, an unknown assailant believed to be a member of the UCPMB killed two policemen in the GSZ and wounded two others.
In the autumn, the court began hearings on the October 1999 attempted killing of opposition leader Vuk Draskovic that resulted in the deaths of four persons, and which many believe was staged by the Serbian Security Service (RDB). Rade Markovic, former head of the RDB, former Belgrade Serbian Security Service chief Milan Radojnic, and two minor security service officials were charged for involvement in the crime. Their trial was ongoing at year's end 2001.
At the end of May, Federal and Serbian Government authorities began exhuming five mass grave sites discovered near the towns of Batajnica, a suburb of Belgrade, and Petrovo Selo, in eastern Serbia. More than 300 bodies were recovered during the year; an estimated 700 bodies are expected to be found. The victims were assumed to be ethnic Albanian men, women, and children, most likely victims of 1999 massacres by the Yugoslav police and army in and around Pec in Kosovo. The process of identifying these bodies has been delayed by administrative issues; however, observers noted that some members of the security forces may be encouraging delays due to their involvement in the original crimes. It is speculated that there are additional bodies located at the bottom of Lake Perucac in western Serbia, as well as a number of bodies believed to be buried under a highway near Vranje. In July during the Serbian Government's exhumation at Petrovo Selo, police discovered three bodies preliminarily identified as Agron, Ylli, and Mehimet Bytyci. In August Serbian authorities requested and received help from the international community in establishing the positive DNA identification of the remains. The Bytyci brothers disappeared in 1999 after being delivered from a Serbian prison into the hands of unidentified Serbian police officers. The investigation into their killings remained ongoing at year's end 2001.
In 1999 as a result of their actions in Kosovo, the ICTY formally indicted as war criminals former President Milosevic and four other senior officials. During the year, the indictment against Milosevic was broadened to include crimes committed during the mid-1990's in Bosnia and Croatia.
During the year, the Serbian government arrested several former officials from the Milosevic regime, including the former head of Milosevic's RDB Radomir Markovic in February. Approximately 200 members of the VJ and 100 police officers have been suspended or detained pending investigation of crimes committed in Kosovo. The charges against them included killings, bodily harm, and endangering lives, dignity, morale, and property. Despite these arrests, there are a number of officials in the military and police, some in high positions, who served in Kosovo, Bosnia, and Croatia and who reportedly were involved in criminal activity, including killings, during those campaigns. Their continued presence in such positions raises questions about the Governments' willingness to confront the issue of impunity.
In addition to the UCPMB, other armed extremist ethnic-Albanian groups with unknown ties were responsible for killings in southern Serbia. In August in Muhovac, a town on the boundary line with Kosovo, an extremist ethnic Albanian group known as the Albanian Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the killing of two Serbian policemen. In early November, unknown persons believed to be ethnic Albanian extremists shot and killed the 4-year old son and wife of an ethnic Albanian police candidate while he was driving in his car. Police were investigating the killing at year's end 2001, but the victim has declined to provide information.
On August 13, unknown assailants killed former State Security officer Momir Gavrilovic. The media alleged that Gavrilovic's death was in some way connected to a number of visits he made to President Kostunica or his staff immediately prior to his death. The police investigation into the killing had made no progress by year's end 2001.
Police investigations remained pending in numerous cases of political killings from previous years, including the November 2000 killing of Nebojsa Simeunovic, a former criminal judge; the April 2000 killing of Zivorad Zika Petrovic, the former Director of Yugoslav Airlines; the February 2000 killing of Pavle Bulatovic, the former Yugoslav Minister of Defense; the April 1999 killing of independent journalist and publisher Slavko Curuvija; and the 1997 killing of Radovan Stojicic, former head of Serbian public security.
On October 26, a Belgrade Court sentenced former policeman Dobrosav Gavric to 20 years in prison and two of his associates to 15 years each for the January 2000 killing of indicted war criminal Zeljko Raznatovic, also known as "Arkan."
There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances during the year 2001.
In August 2000, former Serbian President Ivan Stambolic disappeared while on a daily jog in a park near his home in Belgrade. Many observers noted that the timing of Stambolic's disappearance (only a few weeks ahead of scheduled elections), and the fact that the state-run media remained largely silent on the incident, suggested complicity by the Milosevic regime and the Serbian security service. The Serbian State Prosecutor's office began an investigation of Stambolic's disappearance in November 2000; however, it had not yielded any results by year's end 2001.
Federal and Serbian government authorities began to cooperate with international organizations investigating disappearances and mass graves; however, progress was slow.
Yugoslav and Serbian law prohibit torture and other cruel forms of punishment and there were no reports of systematic abuse; however, police at times beat citizens and detainees, particularly Roma. The Serbian Republic has amended its criminal law to strengthen provisions prohibiting acts of torture.
On May 7, in Ravno Selo, police arrested two Roma men and beat them with clubs in an attempt to force them to confess to stealing. The Humanitarian Law Center filed a complaint with the Municipal Prosecutor's Office in Backa Topola, Vojvodina; however, on May 25, the prosecutor's office dismissed the complaint. On May 11, in Backa Palanka, three police officers beat a Roma man. On May 25, unidentified police officers beat Nenad Filipovic in Kragujevac, first in the presence of his children and then at the local police station. Filipovic, an asthmatic, was detained for 5 hours and suffered an intense asthma attack but was forbidden to use his inhaler. In July police arrested an 11-year-old Romani boy and beat him on the palms and struck him with a nightstick during questioning; he later was released. On August 23, a police officer struck and threatened a 17-year-old Gorani boy in the open air market in central Belgrade. In late August, police beat a Rom, Dusan Jovanovic, reportedly because he touched their police car. In September police in Novi Sad broke the arm of a 14-year-old Roma boy and beat some of his friends. On October 2, Ljubomir Djurkovic, a diabetic, suffered violent blows while in police detention. On October 23, police abused three ethnic Albanians who were attempting to cross the Macedonian border, apparently smuggling cattle; they subsequently were released. In none of these cases has any reported legal action been taken against the police.
Incidents of police harassment against the ethnic Albanian population in southern Serbia, a serious problem in the past, decreased during the year 2001; however, occasional incidents continued to occur. During the re-entry of the GSZ, there were incidents of police abuse. On May 25, police vandalized ethnic Albanian homes in the village of Kurbalija. The Humanitarian Law Center reported that on October 26, a group of 20 policemen beat, kicked, and harassed three ethnic Albanians from Presovo. In both cases, the Government disciplined the police officers involved, and several dozen Serb police officers were dismissed. Nevertheless according to ethnic-Albanian groups, since May Albanians have felt increasingly safe from police interference. There is a conspicuous police and military presence on the streets of the major towns, in large part because of credible threats of violent acts by ethnic-Albanian separatists.
Defense lawyers and human rights workers complained of excessive delays by Serbian authorities in filing formal charges and opening investigations into incidents of police brutality. Investigations into many past abuses were slow and often not transparent. There were occasional reports of cases of assault by police officers that did not go to court due to intimidation of the victims by police. However, in one instance, in May the County Court in Nis found two Serbian policemen guilty of incitement to racial hatred for attacking Dragisa Ajdarevic, a Roma boy, and the policemen were sentenced to 6 months' imprisonment.
Local border guards facilitated trafficking in persons.
Ethnic Albanian extremists also committed abuses. In March the UCPMB detained and allegedly abused four Serb civilians from Vranje and two VJ soldiers. The civilians were detained for 45 days.
On January 28, an unknown assailant shot and wounded the driver for State Security Chief Goran Petrovic. On February 16, unidentified assailants shot at the vehicle of Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic. Both shootings were interpreted as warnings from organized crime groups against police reform.
The Constitution prohibits these practices; however, the Government at times infringed upon these rights. Federal law gives the Federal Ministry of the Interior control over the decision to monitor potential criminal activities; Republic-level laws give the Republic Ministries of the Interior the same control. Although there is no direct evidence, some observers believed that the authorities selectively monitored communications and eavesdropped on conversations, read mail and e-mail, and wiretapped telephones. Although illegal under provisions of Federal and Serbian law, the Federal post office also was believed to register and track suspicious mail from abroad.
The Federal Constitution includes restrictions on searches of persons and of premises; similarly under the Serbian Constitution, police must enter a premise with a warrant, or if no warrant is obtained, they may enter in order to "save people and property." Both the Federal and Republic Governments respected these provisions in practice.
In April the Government announced that it planned to open all secret files on persons to the public, but 1 week later a new decree declared that only files not marked "secret" would be released. Ivan Jankovic, a well-known human rights lawyer, managed to gain access to his file and found that it included no documents less than 10 years old.
The Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention; however, police at times arbitrarily arrested and detained citizens. Defense lawyers and human rights activists complained of excessive delays by authorities in filing formal charges against suspects and in opening investigations.
Federal statutes permit the police to detain criminal suspects without a warrant and to hold them incommunicado for up to 3 days without charging them or granting them access to an attorney. Serbian law separately provides for a 24-hour detention period. After this period, police must turn over a suspect to an investigative judge who may order a 30-day extension of detention and, under certain legal procedures, subsequent extensions of investigative detention for up to 6 months. Lawyers were able to visit detainees, and unlike in previous years under the Milosevic regime, judges allowed defense attorneys to read court files.
The police continued the practice of detaining citizens at times for "informative talks." For example, on May 29, state security agents detained and questioned NGO activist Milos Cvorovic about his contacts with Kosovo Albanians. On July 12, police detained Predrag Radojevic, a reporter from Valjevo for the newspaper Blic, and subjected him to an "informative talk" about his work as a journalist. Radojevic had written articles about the presence of the mafia in Valjevo in previous months. On August 14, police detained the editor-in-chief of Blic, Veselin Simonovic, following the publication of an article about the killing of Momir Gavrilovic, a state security agent.
The Constitution prohibits forced exile, and the Government did not use it during the year 2001.
The Yugoslavian legal system is a civil law system. Yugoslavia had two national court systems, one for resolution of civil and criminal cases, the second to judge the conformity of national law with the Constitution and the conformity of laws passed by republics and provinces with national law. In 1990 the federal constitutional court found recent amendments to the constitutions of all the republics except Montenegro to be at variance with the federal Constitution. The court did not have the authority, however, to take action against such infractions. Its judgments were passed to the Federal Assembly for action. The federal constitutional court also resolved disputes of authority between regional bodies or between a regional body and the national government, but it did not act as an appeals court for the regional level. The republics and provinces also had constitutional courts, which dealt with constitutional questions on their level. For national uniformity, the members of the regional courts held regular consultations on procedures and constitutional interpretations.
The regular court system consisted of the federal, republican, and provincial supreme courts, and local (commune) courts, each resolving civil and criminal cases involving laws at their level of government. Local regular courts included untrained citizens elected by their communes, as well as professional jurists. This provision partially fulfilled the function of trial by jury, which did not exist. The Yugoslav system also had no habeas corpus law. Only professional judges served on the regular courts of the republics and the federal Supreme Court. The system also included local- to federal-level self-management courts (courts of associated labor), which heard only cases involving acts of the self-management organizations, not involving government law. The military courts completed the Yugoslav justice system.
Each republic and province had its own law code, separate from the Criminal Code of the Socialist Federaled Republic of Yugoslavia. By federal law, political crimes were first tried at district level, then cases could be appealed at the republic and federal levels of the regular court system. The federal Supreme Court was the final court of appeal for lower courts of all types. The chief civil law enforcement officer was the public prosecutor, elected by the Federal Assembly. The republics and provinces had corresponding officers, similarly elected and under the direction of the federal prosecutor.
Arrest without warrant was standard procedure. Detainees had the right to know the reasons for their arrest within twenty-four hours, by which time their families were to be informed of their whereabouts. Under article 178 of the Constitution, a prisoner could be held three days before a judge was required to decide whether further detention was permissible. The court could detain individuals for three months without charging them with a criminal offense. The Federal Supreme Court had the power to extend imprisonment without charge by an additional three months. The judiciary lacked sufficient independence to ensure impartial justice for all citizens. Judges were subject to party discipline by the LCY, through which they had reached office. Most judges were appointed only after receiving party approval of their "moral-political suitability." The State Presidency directly appointed and dismissed judges and prosecutors.
The Federal Secretariat for Justice operated twelve major prisons throughout the country. Even party veterans admitted that prison conditions were worse under LCY-dominated government than they were under the old regime. Amnesty International received occasional reports of psychological and physical abuse applied to obtain confessions from detainees. That organization estimated that at least several hundred political prisoners were held in Yugoslavia in any given year of the 1980s. Thousands of other citizens were punished by more insidious means. The government often revoked or denied passports, or dismissed suspicious individuals from employment in their chosen profession.
The military had a separate court system, which included an Office of the Military Prosecutor and a Supreme Military Court. Military courts tried cases involving criminal offenses by armed forces personnel and cases otherwise connected with military service. The most serious offenses in this category were desertion, dereliction of duty, and activities contrary to military morale. Article 221 of the Constitution also granted military courts jurisdiction over certain criminal offenses committed by civilians but related to national defense. They could impose sentences including the death penalty for criminal offenses that undermined the economic or military strength of the country in times of war or imminent danger of war. In the 1980s, military courts were increasingly used for proceedings against civilians because they could be conducted in closed sessions. The State Presidency appointed and dismissed military judges and prosecutors, as it did for civil courts.
In a highly publicized case in 1988, two young Slovenian journalists and a noncommissioned officer were arrested by military authorities and accused of illegally possessing secret military information. The journalists had recently published an article critical of the Yugoslav role as intermediary in Swedish arms sales to Libya. When a military court in Ljubljana found them guilty of revealing military secrets, thousands of Slovenes protested the trial, and a rash of physical attacks on army personnel followed the verdict.
Today, the Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and the independence of the judiciary improved during the year 2001; however, Government officials and politicians exercised influence on the judiciary and judicial corruption remained a problem, although to a lesser extent than it had been under the former Milosevic government. In November the Government of the Republic of Serbia passed new laws reorganizing the Serbian judiciary to separate the judicial branch from undue executive branch influence.
The court system is made up of local, district, and Supreme Courts at the republic level, as well as a Federal Court and Federal Constitutional Court to which Republic Supreme Court decisions, depending on the subject, may be appealed. There also is a military court system. According to the Federal Constitution, the Federal Constitutional Court rules on the constitutionality of laws and regulations and relies on the republics' authorities to enforce its rulings. The Constitutional Court remained staffed by some judges appointed by Milosevic.
Since 1998, republic-level judges have not served for life and have been required to seek office periodically through elections. This process involves obtaining Justice Ministry approval for each judge's candidacy. In the past, local observers feared that this system in effect made judges functionaries of the Government, which easily could remove judges from the bench by refusing to approve judicial candidacies. However, the new laws on the judiciary establish an independent body to appoint judges and give the judicial branch decisive control over hiring assignments and discipline.
Many of the judges appointed under Milosevic remained in place. In the beginning of the year, Justice Minister Vladan Batic announced the "cleansing of the judiciary," which included dismissals of the Presidents of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts of Serbia and other senior judicial figures. On November 2, Minister Batic announced the dismissal of 128 judges and 69 magistrates on the grounds of general incompetence; of these, 58 were accused of involvement in electoral fraud, political trials, and the illegal expropriation of real estate. On November 15, the Government dismissed 21 magistrates, most of them from Belgrade, who had fined and convicted media representatives under the Milosevic regime, using the Public Information Act, which has since been repealed.
Many legal scholars have expressed concern about the 1998 Act on Lawyers, which they believe restricts the freedom of lawyers and interferes with the independence of lawyers in their dealings with clients. This law remained in effect at year's end 2001.
Under Federal law, defendants have the right to be present at their trials and to have an attorney represent them, at public expense if needed. The courts also must provide interpreters. Both the defense and the prosecution have the right to appeal a verdict. Defendants are presumed innocent.
The Federal Criminal Code of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia remained in force. Considerable confusion and room for potential abuse remained in the legal system because the 1990 Constitution of Serbia has not yet been brought into conformity with the 1992 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Serbian Constitution, which is considered to be weak in human rights protections, remained in force.
Under Milosevic, the Government convicted in flawed trials and imprisoned approximately 1,900 ethnic Albanians, pursuing cases brought against them under the Yugoslav Criminal Code for jeopardizing the territorial integrity of the country or for conspiring or forming a group with intent to commit subversive activities (undermining the "constitutional order"). Most of the cases involved alleged violations under Article 136 of the Federal Penal Code related to "association to conduct enemy activity," or Article 125 concerning "terrorism." In February the Government passed an amnesty law that released most prisoners convicted under Article 136; however, the amnesty did not cover those imprisoned under Article 125. In December 173 persons remained in prison; of these, 90 were ethnic Albanian political prisoners. The remaining 83 were convicted of common crimes. During the year 2001, most prisoners, including the 143-person Djakovica group, who were convicted in a mass trial in 1999, were released, either through appeal, amnesty, or, in some cases, completion of sentence. The 90 remaining alleged political prisoners from Kosovo were convicted in unfair trials under Article 125 and Article 136 during the Kosovo war. All of these cases require review, as the court procedures used in their trials and the charges brought against them under the Milosevic regime were highly suspect. One of the prisoners is severely mentally handicapped. According to the HLC, the remainder of the prisoners transferred to Serbian jails were common criminals convicted of crimes such as murder, rape, and armed robbery. In November the Governments of Yugoslavia and Serbia signed an agreement (Common Document) with the U.N. Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) that, among other things, made provisions for the review of all of these cases and for the transfer of Kosovar Albanian prisoners to Kosovo, where they would continue to serve their sentences if the evidence supports the original convictions. At the end of the year, the Serbian Government and UNMIK were in the process of finalizing the implementation of that agreement.
Ukshin Hoti, leader of UNIKOMB, a political party that advocated Kosovo's unification with Albania, was released from prison in May 1999 but reportedly disappeared after his release.
In May the Government granted amnesty to former members of the UCPMB on the condition that they not take up arms against the Government; by year's end 2001 many former UCPMB members had disarmed and had begun reintegrating into society.
Prison conditions generally meet international standards; however, overcrowding remained a serious problem. The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, which visited prisons during the year 2001, reported that, while conditions were not ideal, there has been an overall improvement since the prison riots that occurred in November 2000. The Government has improved living conditions and provides adequate food, medical care, and heating. Unlike in previous years, there were no reports of physical abuse, torture, or beatings of prisoners. Ethnic-Albanian political prisoners were housed in conditions similar to those of Serb prisoners; however, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) reported that there was at least one ethnic-Albanian prisoner who suffers from a medical problem not treatable in prison and that prison authorities have not been cooperative in arranging adequate medical care for him. Men and women are held separately, and conditions in women's prisons are the same as in men's prisons. Juveniles are held separately from adults. Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports of ethnic-Albanian minors being held in the country's prisons. Political prisoners are held in sections of regular prisons; for example, Albanian political prisoners were held in jails in Nis, Smederevo, Zrenjanin and other localities. Pretrial detainees are held separately from convicted prisoners.
The Government permitted visits by independent human rights monitors. In the beginning of the year, the Humanitarian Law Center obtained permission to visit all of the prisons in Serbia; in June the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia also obtained permission for such visits. By year's end 2001, the Helsinki Committee had visited three prisons: the Belgrade Prison, the Krusevac facility for youthful offenders, and the penitentiary at Sremska Mitrovica. Helsinki Committee representatives were allowed to speak with prisoners without the presence of a prison warden.
Violence against women was a problem and traditionally high levels of domestic violence persisted. The few official agencies dedicated to coping with family violence have inadequate resources and were limited in their activity by social pressure to keep families together at all costs. The Criminal Code does not recognize spousal rape as a criminal offense; rape is defined as forced sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are not married. Few victims of spousal abuse file complaints with the authorities. There is no trained police unit to provide protection or assistance to female victims of sexual or other violence. The Center for Autonomous Women's Rights in Belgrade offered a rape and spousal abuse hot line, and sponsored a number of self-help groups. The Center also offered assistance to refugee women (mostly Serb), many of whom experienced extreme abuse or rape during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.
The country served as a transit country, and to a lesser extent a country of origin and a destination country, for trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Women do not enjoy social status equal to that of men, and relatively few women have obtained upper level management positions in commerce. Traditional patriarchal ideas of gender roles, especially in rural areas, hold that women should be subservient to the male members of their family, and subject women to discrimination in many homes. In some more remote rural areas, particularly among minority communities, women effectively lack the ability to exercise their right to control property and have custody of their children. Women legally are entitled to equal pay for equal work; however, according to the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, women's average wage is 11 percent lower than the average wage of men. Women are granted maternity leave for 1 year, with an additional 6 months available. In urban areas such as Belgrade and Novi Sad, women are represented widely in many professions including law and medicine. Women are also active in political and human rights organizations.
The Government attempts to meet the health and educational needs of children. The educational system provides 8 years of free, mandatory schooling. However, economic distress has affected children adversely in both the education and health care systems, particularly Romani children, who rarely attend kindergartens. Few Romani children attend primary schools, either for family reasons, because they are judged to be unqualified, or because of societal prejudice. Due to this lack of primary schooling, many Romani children do not learn to speak Serbian, and there is no instruction available in the Romani language. Some Romani children with learning problems or poor language skills reportedly are placed in schools for children with learning disabilities.
Traditionally there has been no societal pattern of abuse of children; reportedly there has been an increase in the incidence of child abuse.
The country was a transit country and, to a lesser extent, a country of origin and destination country for trafficking in girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
The law does not prohibit trafficking in persons specifically, although there are other laws that could be used to prosecute traffickers and trafficking was a problem. Serbia is a transit, and to a lesser extent, a country of origin, and a destination country for women and girls trafficked to other parts of Europe for sexual exploitation. Local border officials facilitated trafficking.
The country is a transit and destination point for women trafficked from Eastern Europe, especially Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, and Russia. According to an International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights report, women often were trafficked to Belgrade, and then taken to other parts of Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Greece, Germany, the Netherlands, and other Western European countries, often for sexual exploitation. Yugoslavia also was a country of origin for women trafficked to Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Germany, and the Netherlands. For example, in the area around Nis in eastern Serbia, an NGO reported that some local women had been trafficked. The central point in Serbia for the transit trade is Belgrade, where organized crime is most entrenched. There were reports by the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights that Roma women and children also were trafficked to Italy, where women and girls were required to work in the sex industry and the boys were required to beg and steal.
Women often were recruited to work abroad through advertisements for escort services and waitresses, and through personal advertisements for marriage offers or "lonely hearts" columns. Many who responded to such advertisements were sexually exploited. Federal legislation allows escort agencies to be registered and to advertise; many of these agencies were involved in trafficking. Trafficking was controlled by organized crime groups.
Local border officials were complicit in trafficking, and accepted bribes routinely to permit groups of women into the country.
In Serbia no specific law prohibits trafficking; however, the criminal code prohibits the "illegal transport of others" across borders for "lucrative purposes." It also prohibits the recruiting, inducing, inciting, or luring of females into prostitution. Penalties range from 3 months to 5 years in prison and the confiscation of property, and 10 years if the victim is underage. There were no reports of individuals prosecuted for trafficking.
During the year 2001 the authorities began to take action against trafficking. Within the Federal and Serbian governments, there are four working groups on victims' protection, prevention, data collection and law enforcement (which includes a member from the Serbian Interior Ministry) that are staffed by the Government and coordinated by OSCE. An awareness program called "Open Your Eyes" sponsored by foreign governments was aired by B92 TV in December. With donor assistance, the Government established a regional program for education and awareness of the problem, targeting border guards.
The Government does not provide any services for victims. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) assisted trafficked victims, and returned approximately 100 women to their countries of origin. A very small number of local NGO's dealt with trafficking. Although the issue received some media attention during the year 2001, public awareness of the problem was low.
Once part of the famous Balkan route for smuggling of heroin and other drugs from Turkey and the Middle East to western Europe, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) remains a transit country for narcotics smuggling. During the breakup of Yugoslavia, the emergent Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was subject to UN trade sanctions, which greatly reduced the opportunities for narcotics trafficking through the country. While difficult to determine its extent, narcotics trafficking through the SSFRY appears to have increased since UN trade sanctions were suspended after the signing of the Dayton accords. The "outer wall" of sanctions bars the SFRY from international organizations and financial institutions, and prevents normalization of US- diplomatic relations. The SFRY holds itself responsible for meeting the standards of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. SFRY enforcement officials claim that international isolation has reduced their effectiveness in fighting drug trafficking and have requested greater cooperation with U.S. and international agencies. No U.S. counternarcotics assistance is provided to the SFRY .
The SFRY was an important part of the primary corridor for drug trafficking from Turkey and the Middle East to western Europe during the 1970's and 1980's. The events that led to international isolation for the SFRY--the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia and the resultant UN trade sanctions--disrupted trafficking along this route. While information remains difficult to obtain, the SFRY does not appear to have major problems with drug production, money laundering or precursor chemicals. The climate is not suitable for the production of drugs with the possible exception of marijuana. The underdeveloped banking sector deters money laundering.
Drug transit is the main problem area. SFRY authorities admit that heroin trafficking has increased since the lifting UN trade sanctions. SFRY customs officials noted that marijuana and even cocaine were intercepted in 1998. Officials point to the Kosovar Albanian community as primarily responsible for drug smuggling activities in the SFRY--noting in evidence the frequent drug-related arrests of members of this community in western Europe and in neighboring countries. The officials also pointed to the difficulty in maintaining control of portions of the border separating Kosovo from Macedonia and Albania. SFRY authorities are concerned by evidence of growing drug use within the country.
Little cultivation or production of narcotics is believed to occur in the SFRY.
SFRY customs authorities claim that marijuana has entered the SFRY via smuggling boats that operate on Lake Skadar between Albania and Montenegro. These boats smuggle a wide variety of consumer goods into the SFRY , but customs officials contend the cargoes often contain small quantities of marijuana. The two 1998 seizures of cocaine led SFRY customs to believe that cocaine has for several years been entering the country in small quantities via mail or in larger quantities through via trucks or ships. The same officials claimed that heroin interdiction was becoming more difficult given the entry of small quantities smuggled across the inadequately controlled Kosovo-Albania and Kosovo-Macedonia borders. The small quantities are collected in Kosovo for movement forward by any means except airplane--a means of conveyance not favored by traffickers in the SFRY.
A hard-hitting anti-drug abuse campaign in 1998 has featured television ads, billboards, and other advertisements intended to reduce demand.
Internet research assisted by Joseph G. Karakas