Serbia activist to appeal fine on war crimes allegations

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — A prominent Serbian human rights activist said Tuesday her group will appeal a court order to pay 4,400 euros ($5,100) in compensation to the Serbian army chief of staff for publicly linking him to war crimes committed in Kosovo during the 1998-99 conflict.

Natasa Kandic, the former head of the Humanitarian Law Center group, described the verdict by Belgrade’s First Basic Court as “political” and promised to take it to the European Court of Justice if necessary.

Kandic and her HLC group were fined for violating the honor of Gen. Ljubisa Dikovic by alleging that his troops had committed atrocities against ethnic Albanian civilians in Kosovo, the group said in a statement earlier Tuesday.

Kandic had publicly demanded that Dikovic — a unit commander in Kosovo during the war — be replaced as Serbia’s military chief. Dikovic has rejected the allegations and Serbia’s war crimes prosecutors haven’t filed any charges.

Kandic, who lead HLC for years and gained international prominence for her work, told The Associated Press that the court had refused her request to present evidence against Dikovic and call witnesses.

“It is a political verdict that will remain as an example of the state of the judiciary and how it protected officers involved in war crimes,” Kandic told the AP.