Serbia court considers overturning general’s treason conviction for collaborating with Nazis

Serbia court considers overturning general’s treason conviction for collaborating with Nazis

[JURIST] A Belgrade court on Friday considered whether to wipe the treason conviction against General Draza Mihailovic for his efforts supporting the Nazi regime during World War II. Serbian nationals showed up in droves to the courthouse to witness the decision on Mihailovic’s oft contested legacy, and resolve a dispute that has divided the country for many years. Nationalist Serbians, also known as “Chetniks,” have supported the quashing of the conviction and the political rehabilitation of a man they see as a hero that died for political reasons. The leftist faction staunchly opposes the change, as Mihailovic’s decision to switch sides in the middle of battle is still looked upon unfavorably. Dusan Cukic, spokesman for a Serbian WWII veteran’s union expressed his sentiments that being “on the side of Hitler’s fascist hoards” should not be an action that is available for rehabilitation.

Serbia in currently in a heated dispute with Croatia about the nature of the violence resulting from the expulsion of Croats from Serbia after Zagreb’s declaration of independence in the 1990s. Last year Croatia claimed that the Serbian occupation and resulting violence was an act of genocide [JURIST report] that violated the 1948 convention, which was met by a Serbian counterclaim based on the expulsion of Serbs from Croatia. Earlier this month the International Court of Justice [official website] finally decided [JURIST report] that neither Serbia nor Croatia committed genocide against each other in the 1990s. In April 2014 it was discovered that the EU was establishing a war crimes tribunal [JURIST report] to deal exclusively with the allegations surrounding the 1998 war between Serbia and Kosovo. In November Amnesty International [advocacy website] released a statement [JURIST report] urging that Serbian war criminals not go free following a report that claimed the prosecutorial and judicial system in Serbia failed to adequately investigate war crimes and implement consequences. Earlier this month the Croatian Prime Minister said that Croatia would block [JURIST report] Serbia from joining the EU unless it changed a law that allows Serbia to prosecute Croatians for abuses against Serbians on Croatian soil.