The US Embassy in Belgrade has refused the visa application of Serbian General Ljubisa Dikovic who was invited to a counterterrorism conference in Washington, earlier in 2017.
And though the US Embassy in Belgrade has refused to comment the issue, it is thought that the reason behind the refusal of Dikovic’s visa application might be the allegations that he has been involved in war crimes committed by his troops in the 1998-99 war against Albanian civilians in Kosovo. Despite the fact that Serbian human rights groups have accused Dikovic for such crimes, he has never been tried or convicted for the alleged crimes.
Moreover, on April 2016 Belgrade’s Humanitarian Law Centre had been ordered by the First Basic Court in Belgrade to compensate Gen. Dikovic for accusing him of involvement in war crimes in Kosovo and Bosnia. According to the decision of the court the HCL had to compensate Dikovic because of “mental distress caused by the damage to his honor and reputation” by the allegations made in a 2012 report.
In October Gen. Ljubisa Dikovic alongside Gen. Vladimir Lazarevic, who had been sentenced to 14 years in prison by a UN war crimes tribunal for taking part in a bloody crackdown against Kosovo’s Albanians in the 1990s, and former Gen. Bozidar Delic had been invited to teach at the Balkan country’s military academy. The three of them accused by Serbian rights groups for war crimes in Kosovo and Bosnia, which groups also demanded the removal of Vulin from his post for “rehabilitating” Lazarevic, at the time.
Dikovic has also refused to comment the refusal of his visa application, only claiming that he has been part of “the heroic” defense of Kosovo. On the other hand Serbia’s defense minister, Aleksandar Vulin commented the case, saying it will have consequences for the military relations between both countries. He also said it was unclear why the US. Embassy in Belgrade rejected the visa for Gen. Dikovic.
The refusal of Dikovic’s visa application comes at the same time when the US Embassy in Pristina refused to issue a visa to the Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj, who was invited to attend events in Iowa organized by the National Guard. Analysts believe that the delays in issuing the visa came as a reaction against the latest incentive of Kosovo Lawmakers to scrap new War Court announced in December, which has especially triggered strong reactions by the US ambassador, the UK ambassador, the US Department and the main countries of the European Union.