CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.

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October 2014

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

EU late Oct ended sanctions on former Yugoslav President Milosovic, his family, other former Serbian officials. Albanian PM visited Belgrade 22 Oct for talks on situation of ethnic Albanians in Serbia areas bordering Kosovo, Macedonia.

August 2014

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

PM Vucic 14 Aug suggested legislation criminalising participation in foreign war following reports Serbian mercenaries fighting in Ukraine. Vucic 22 Aug said Serbia will not impose sanctions on Russia after EU and U.S. imposed sanctions over Ukraine crisis.

December 2013

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

EU FMs 17 Dec agreed Serbia can start EU membership talks Jan following implementation of April 2013 EU-mediated agreement with Kosovo.

September 2013

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

In return for start of membership negotiations with EU, expected Jan 2014, govt agreed to withdraw its institutions from Kosovo territory and support Kosovo govt’s sovereignty over its whole territory ahead of Nov local elections (see Kosovo).

June 2013

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

European Council 28 June agreed to open accession talks  with Serbia, starting latest Jan 2014. 

April 2013

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

European Commission 22 April said it would recommend start date for EU accession talks with Serbia following breakthrough deal normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina (see Kosovo).

January 2013

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Parliament 13 Jan passed resolution on high-level dialogue with Pristina, based on govt platform adopted earlier in month, which calls for territorial and political autonomy for Serb municipalities in Kosovo, accepts step-by-step approach in place of demand that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”, drops call to demilitarise Kosovo. Authorities 20 Jan removed controversial memorial to ethnic Albanian fighters in Preševo in south, prompting upheaval in Preševo, calls for secession.

December 2012

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

EU Council 11 Dec declined to open accession talks with Serbia; said talks might begin early 2013, if Belgrade makes progress in normalising relations with Kosovo.

October 2012

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

EC progress report concluded Serbia continues to fulfil political criteria and conditions of Stabilisation and Association process, but called for “visible and sustainable improvement in relations” with Kosovo. PM Dačić said “upset” that report included request for Serbia to respect Kosovo’s territorial integrity.

September 2012

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Ahead of European Commission progress report to be published 10 Oct, govt adopted reforms including pledging to implement agreements made earlier in technical talks with Kosovo. European Council president Van Rompuy 4 Sept and EU Enlargement Commissioner Füle 5 Sept urged PM Dačić to step up reform on path to EU membership, open up greater dialogue with Kosovo. Dačić said govt ready to return to talks with Kosovo on substantive political issues. President Nikolić 25 Sept told UNGA Serbia would never recognise independence of Kosovo but committed to “lasting peace between Serbs and Albanians”, called for direct negotiations with Pristina at highest level.

August 2012

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Parliament 4 Aug passed legislation restricting independence of central bank, 6 Aug confirmed political ally of President Nikolić, Jorgovanka Tabaković, as bank’s head; appointment condemned by EU, U.S. ambassador said process “a failure of the rule of law”.

July 2012

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Progressive Party, Socialists, United Regions of Serbia 10 July signed coalition agreement; EU accession named priority. Progressive Party 22 July announced 19-member multi-party govt, pledged “zero-tolerance” on corruption, crime. President Nikolić 19 July claimed secret agreements reached by predecessor’s negotiating team on Kosovo helped to “seal Kosovo’s independence”, 23 July sought UN involvement in Kosovo talks, but asked for respect for Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo. During regional visit, U.S. Asst Sec of State Gordon 6 July told Serbia it must accept Kosovo’s independence, called on Serbia to stop supporting illegal security structures in N Kosovo; senior Kosovo govt official 17 July claimed Serbia maintaining police network of hundreds in N Kosovo. Constitutional court 10 July ruled some aspects of law on autonomous northern province Vojvodina unconstitutional. Serbia 10 July indicted 12 people for attack on U.S. embassy during 2008 riots over Kosovo’s independence.

June 2012

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Socialist leader Dačić 28 June received mandate to form govt, coalition expected with Progressives and United Regions of Serbia. Senior EU diplomat 20 June said de facto Kosovo embassy in Belgrade precondition for EU membership. President Nikolić 2 June denied Srebrenica massacre constituted genocide prompting boycott of presidential inauguration by leaders of other Balkan nations. President Nikolić 15 June asserted he would not oppose normalisation of relations with Kosovo, but would never recognise it as country; Serbia 20 June announced upgrade of next round of dialogue with Priština, with President or PM negotiating directly. Prosecution Office 22 June announced criminal proceedings against 13 prominent figures suspected of helping ICTY war crimes suspects Ratko Mladić, Stojan Župljann evade capture. War crimes court 27 June sentenced 14 ex-soldiers to 4-20 years prison for killing Croatian villagers in 1991.

May 2012

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) leader Tomislov Nikolić 20 May defeated incumbent President Tadić in presidential elections. New President same day declared Serbia “will not stray from its European path” in effort to assuage fears over previous links to Milosević and cultivation of ties with Moscow; EU, U.S. encouraged continued dialogue with Kosovo. In first official visit to Moscow President Nikolić 28 May said Serbia would not recognize Kosovo even as requirement for EU membership.

April 2012

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanović 15 April stated in U-turn that Serbia would not hold 6 May local elections in N Kosovo but appoint local officials instead (see Kosovo). Bogdanović 20 April claimed ethnic Albanian militias in N Kosovo a result of “Priština’s aspirations, through violence and unilateral action” to control N Kosovo (see Kosovo). Serbian authorities 23 April released Kosovo trade union leader Hasan Abazi, detained last month in series of tit-for-tat arrests on both sides of Kosovo- Serbia border.

March 2012

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

EU 1 March granted Serbia candidate status. Serbia 13 March announced 6 May parliamentary, provincial, local elections, controversially including N Kosovo in local elections (see Kosovo); Serbian Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanović 22 March sent letter to UNMIK requesting agreement for local elections; head of UNMIK Farid Zarif 23 March refused to help organise elections, cited “circumstances on the ground”. Serbian police arrested 4 Kosovo Albanians 28 March, 2 Kosovo policemen 31 March near Serbian border (see Kosovo).

February 2012

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

EU FMs 28 Feb agreed to recommend EU candidacy; EU leaders to approve decision at Brussels summit 1 March.

December 2011

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

European Council 9 Dec decided to delay decision on granting Serbia candidate status until March; Council President Van Rompuy said Serbia needs to improve relations with Kosovo. President Tadic claimed Brussels had asked Serbia to recognise Kosovo independence in return for candidacy status; denied by EU.

October 2011

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

European Commission 12 Oct issued positive annual progress report recommending Serbia obtain EU candidate status, but conditional on Serbia re-engaging in constructive dialogue with Kosovo. Final decision on whether Serbia to receive candidate status to be made in Dec. President Tadic said country wants to solve problems with Kosovo, but will not abandon principles regarding territorial integrity.

August 2011

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

German leader Chancellor Merkel during Belgrade visit said Serbia must abandon parallel Serb institutions in North Kosovo as condition for progress on EU accession; President Tadic said Serbia will not “abandon” Kosovo Serbs.

July 2011

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Goran Hadžić, last remaining ICTY fugitive, arrested in northern Serbia 20 July, extradited to The Hague. EU welcomed arrest as “important step” in realizing Serbia’s European perspective.

May 2011

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Ratko Mladic, Bosnian Serb military leader during 1992-95 Bosnian war accused of commanding Srebrenica massacre and siege of Sarajevo, arrested near Belgrade 26 May, extradited to The Hague 31 May to stand trial at ICTY for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity. Arrest welcomed across Balkans and internationally as major step towards post-war reconciliation and integration for region, removes major obstacle to Serbia’s progress on EU accession. Several thousand protested arrest in Belgrade 29 May, clashed with police.

April 2011

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Tens of thousands of opposition Progressive Party (SNS) supporters rallied in Belgrade 16 Apr, demanding early elections in 2011. SNS leader Tomislav Nikolic launched hunger strike 16 Apr; ended after a week.

February 2011

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Governing coalition underwent internal crisis after economy minister Mladjan Dinkić called on PM Cvetković to resign. Ruling DS began proceedings to remove Dinkić, who then resigned. Serbia 31 Jan submitted answers to EU questionnaire, on basis of which EU to assess country’s readiness for candidate status.

January 2011

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

European Parliament approved Serbia’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement, important step towards EU membership, and adopted resolution on process of Serbia’s EU integration, calling for Belgrade to address judicial reform, corruption, cooperation with ICTY, achieve results in dialogue with Pristina. Ratification included proviso that Serbia must not use upcoming dialogue with Kosovo to reopen status, seek partition.

December 2010

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee 1 Dec approved EU’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia in draft resolution.

November 2010

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele 24 Nov delivered European Commission questionnaire to Serbia, on basis of which it will assess Serbia’s readiness for candidate status; represents important step forward in country’s EU accession bid. EU progress report criticised lack of reform in judiciary, limits on market economy, called for full cooperation with ICTY; praised improved relations with neighbours.

October 2010

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Some 15,000 joined anti-govt protest by Social Democrat party 11 Oct. Several opposition parties, including ethnic Albanian, announced plans to stage further protests. Senior EU officials repeated calls for resolution of name dispute with Greece ahead of 9 Nov European Commission (EC) annual report on Macedonia’s readiness for EU membership.

September 2010

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Following UNGA’s 9 Sept adoption of Serbian resolution calling for talks between Belgrade and Pristina (see Kosovo), Serbian President Tadic in Brussels 23 Sept to discuss format of talks and Serbia’s EU integration process with EU foreign policy chief Ashton. EU Council of Ministers 14 Sept decided Serbia’s EU application to be forwarded to European Commission in Oct. ICTY Chief Prosecutor Brammertz said Serbia must do more to arrest war crimes suspects Ratko Mladic, Goran Hadzic.

August 2010

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Serbian FM Jeremic 11 Aug announced Serbia unlikely to convince enough govts to support its 28 July draft resolution to UNGA calling for renewed negotiations with Kosovo on “all open issues”. German FM Westerwelle 27 Aug, UK Foreign Secretary Hague 31 Aug visited Belgrade to push for changes to draft (see Kosovo).

July 2010

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Govt 23 July said ICJ’s 22 July decision that Kosovo’s declaration of independence did not violate international law failed to answer question whether unilaterally proclaimed secession is legal (see Kosovo); asserted commitment to preserving country’s territorial integrity, defend position at UN General Assembly (UNGA). 28 July submitted draft resolution to UNGA saying unilateral secession not acceptable means for solving territorial disputes, calling for resumption of talks for mutually agreed solution; followed 26 July motion by Parliament backing govt Kosovo policy. President Tadic attended 11 July ceremony in Bosnia commemorating Srebrenica massacre, vowed to bring former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic to justice.

June 2010

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

After receiving positive report by UN Tribunal Chief Prosecutor on Serbia’s cooperation 14 June, EU Council of Ministers opened ratification process for country’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement. Govt reiterated commitment to bring former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic to justice despite 16 June motion by family to declare him dead, citing serious illness, lack of indications he is alive.

May 2010

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

EU Enlargement Commissioner Fuele 19 May said next month’s report by Hague tribunal Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz on co-operation by Serbia crucial to country’s EU integration bid. Tribunal 19 May announced receipt from Serbia of diaries of former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic to be used in trial of former Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic. FM Jeremic 16 May said agreement reached on holding 2 June EU-Western Balkans summit with Kosovo’s participation. Summit to be held in so-called Gymnich format with countries represented without state symbols. Govt 20 May pledged to undertake investigation into possible mass grave discovered 10 May in Raska, believed to contain remains of some 250 ethnic Albanians killed in 1998-1999 Kosovo conflict.

April 2010

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

During 14 Apr visit, Council of Europe SG Jagland praised reforms, announced decision to end post-accession supervision of Serbia. During 7-8 Apr visit to Belgrade U.S. Deputy Sec State Steinberg commended Serbia’s EU progress, cooperation with Hague Tribunal, resolution condemning Srebrenica massacre.

March 2010

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Parliament 31 March adopted resolution condemning 1995 Srebrenica massacre, apologising to victims’ families. UK authorities 1 March arrested Ejup Ganic, member of Bosnia’s wartime presidency, on Serbian warrant relating to alleged role in 1992 attack on Yugoslav People’s Army convoy leaving Sarajevo under negotiated safe passage. Serbian Ministry of Justice 10 March requested extradition of Ganic; Bosnia 3 March filed rival request. Thousands protested outside British, Serbian embassies in Sarajevo demanding Ganic’s release. 20 March EU-Balkans cooperation summit in Slovenia highlighted political, ethnic divisions: President Tadic refused to attend over Kosovo’s state-level participation; Bosnian PM Spiric (Bosnian Serb) walked out during Kosovo PM Thaci speech.

February 2010

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Serbia 9 Feb announced it had fully normalised relations with Bosnia, frozen since Belgrade rejected Bosnia’s ambassador 3 years ago. 1 policeman seriously injured in 14 Feb bomb explosion in Bujanovac, Albanian-majority areas in south; police called blast a “terrorist attack”. Police 23 Feb conducted search of Ratko Mladic’s Belgrade family home aimed at disrupting his financial support network.

January 2010

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Following meeting with FM Jeremic, Spanish FM Moratinos 26 Jan said will push for quick decision on Serbia’s bid for EU membership. Bishop Irinej, advocate of ecumenical dialogue and widely seen as moderate and apolitical, elected Patriarch of Serbian Orthodox Church 22 Jan. Serbia recalled ambassador from Podgorica after Montenegro 15 Jan established diplomatic relations with Kosovo.

December 2009

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Belgrade 22 Dec submitted formal EU membership application after EU FMs 7 Dec agreed to unblock interim trade agreement with Serbia, citing cooperation with The Hague, key European reforms. Occurred after ICTY Chief Prosecutor Brammertz 3 Dec reported to UNSC Serbia’s “constant progress” in cooperation with tribunal, and Netherlands lifted its opposition, in place since April 2008 signing of Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between EU and Serbia. Dutch FM 15 Dec said position on unfreezing of full SAA depends on further progress with ICTY.

November 2009

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

ICTY chief prosecutor Brammertz visited early Nov to assess Serbia’s cooperation with Court; allegedly favourable report to be delivered to UNSC 3 Dec, though stops short of citing full cooperation. Addressing Dutch parliament EU enlargement debate 12 Nov, Dutch FM noted progress in Serbia’s cooperation with UN war crimes tribunal. New military base near Kosovo, Macedonian borders prompted criticism from local Serbian Albanians. EU Council of Ministers 30 Nov lifted visa restrictions against Serbia, to begin 19 Dec instead of 1 Jan.

October 2009

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

EC annual progress report 14 Oct said Serbia has made significant progress toward EU integration, cooperation with The Hague. Russian President Medvedev visited Belgrade 20 Oct. Turkish President Gül signed bilateral agreements with govt during late month visit.

September 2009

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

EU Enlargement Commissioner Rehn 17 Sept advised Serbia not to apply for EU membership until Serbia-EU Interim Trade Agreement is unblocked. Govt 25 Sept submitted report on fulfilment of conditions required for EU visa liberalisation. Failed attempt to hold Pride Parade in Belgrade 20 Sept led to major offensive by govt against far-right, nationalist groups.

August 2009

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Ethnic Albanian officials in south 2 Aug announced proposal to form separate region in Albanian-majority Presevo Valley. Serbian police 19 Aug found large weapons cache in predominantly ethnic-Albanian southern village. Moscow 5 Aug announced planned Oct visit by President Medvedev to Belgrade to discuss bilateral relations, energy.

July 2009

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

European Commission 15 July announced Serbia to be approved for visa-free travel to Schengen zone Jan 2010 provided 4 technical conditions met by 30 Sept. In Albanianmajority Presevo Valley, 2 police injured 9 July by rocket launcher attack on their vehicle; bomb exploded in front of building housing families of mostly Albanian police 14 July, injuring woman, child. Interior Minister Dacic accused Kosovo police of helping smuggle explosives, weapons into south. Presevo Valley Albanians sent letters to Western embassies demanding withdrawal of Serbian police from area.

June 2009

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Issue of unblocking Serbia’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement with EU reportedly removed from agenda of 18-19 June EU summit at request of Netherlands. Serbia 21 June rejected “partial” implementation of interim trade accord. EU Enlargement Commissioner Rehn 22 June said EU seeking way to unfreeze deal. EU gave Serbia positive assessment on visa liberalization (see Macedonia). Serbian war crimes court sentenced 4 former paramilitaries to 15-20 years for killings of 14 Kosovo Albanians in 1999, 26 June indicted 17 former ethnic Albanian guerrilla fighters for 1998-99 war crimes.

May 2009

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

ICTY chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz praised Serbia’s cooperation with the court 11 May, said arrest of Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic still a priority. During 20 May Serbia visit, U.S. VP Biden said U.S. will not demand recognition of Kosovo’s independence as precondition for better relations with Serbia.

April 2009

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Belgrade 17 Apr submitted motion to ICJ claiming Kosovo’s Feb 2008 declaration of independence illegal (see Kosovo). 4 police convicted in Belgrade 23 Apr of killing 48 Kosovo Albanians in Suhareka/Suva Reka, Prizren, 1999.

March 2009

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Some 1,000 nationalists demonstrated in Belgrade 25 March, on 10th anniversary of NATO bombing; 30 arrested, 7 injured following clashes with police. Pristina banned Serbian officials from entering Kosovo without official approval: Serbian parliamentarian group visit cancelled 16 March, Belgrade mayor and President Tadic adviser prevented from entering 23 March.

February 2009

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

President Tadic 3 Feb said ready to discuss practical issues concerning Kosovo with UN, but not status and not with Pristina govt. Tadic and FM Jeremic pressed for implementation of “6-point plan” across Kosovo at respective meetings with UNMIK chief Zannier and UNSG Ban. ICTY 11 Feb suspended indefinitely trial of ex-Serb Radical leader Seselj over witness safety concerns. 5 senior officials found guilty by UN War Crimes Tribunal 26 Feb on charges related to Kosovo confl ex-President Milutinovic acquitted. 2 grenade blasts in Presevo mid-Feb caused no injuries.

January 2009

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Belgrade 23 Jan condemned newly-established Kosovo Security Force (see Kosovo) as “illegal paramilitary formation” in protest letters to UNSC, NATO. 3,000 ethnic Albanians 26 Jan rallied in Presevo for release of 10 ex-KLA members detained Dec on suspicion of atrocities against Serbs during June-Oct 1999 conflict. FM Jeremic 28 Jan said Serbia to apply for EU candidacy by June; Czech FM 3 Jan said Mladic arrest should not be precondition for EU SAA talks.

December 2008

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Police in Presevo 26 Dec arrested 10 former Kosovo Liberation Organization (KLA) members, suspected of kidnapping, murdering during June-October 1999 conflict, prompting 28 Dec protest by ethnic Albanians. Serbian army chief of staff Ponos dismissed 30 Dec by President Tadic over differences with Defence Minister. Finance ministry 10 Dec cut double wages for Serb public servants in Kosovo; will get 50% supplement instead. ICTY Chief Prosecutor Brammertz 12 Dec presented generally positive report to UNSC on Serbia’s cooperation, but with Mladic and Hadzic still at large EU Council of Ministers 8 Dec said full ICTY cooperation needed to begin implementation of Interim Agreement.

November 2008

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

In spite of successful Belgrade efforts to secure status-neutrality of EU rule of law (EULEX) mission in Kosovo (see Kosovo), opposition parties proposed govt no confidence vote, citing Serbian cooperation with EULEX deployment. Army chief Lt. Gen. Ponos late month announced Serbia seeking changes to 1999 Kumanovo agreement to abolish buffer zone between Serbian army and NATO forces in Kosovo. ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz in Serbia 17-18 Nov to evaluate Serbian cooperation with court; Dec report expected to point out continued shortcomings. ICJ 18 Nov ruled it can hear 1999 Croatian lawsuit filed against Serbia for genocide during early 1990s war; Serbia announced intention to file countersuit.

October 2008

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia

Govt 16 Oct decided to start implementing EU Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) reforms in Jan 2009, in spite of deal being frozen by EU in Sept. Dutch FM said Netherlands would continue to block SAA until Mladic arrest. Interior Minister Ivica Dacic 1 Nov called on Mladic, Hadzic to surrender to police. Serbia expelled Montenegrin and Macedonian ambassadors following countries’ early Oct recognition of Kosovo. Govt 1 Oct signed “security agreement” with NATO, precondition for Partnership for Peace membership in 2009.

September 2008

Europe & Central Asia

Serbia