News 22 Dec 16

Terror Map Reveals Unresolved Cases in Balkans

Global Terrorist Data, GTD, records a large number of terror attacks in the Balkans between 1970 and 2015, and carries reminder of how many cases remain unresolved.

Sven Milekic
Terrorist attacks in Europe between 1970 and 2015. Photo: Global Terrorist Data

Global Terrorist Data, GTD, a map presenting all the terrorist attacks that took place in Europe between 1970 and 2015, reveals the number of attacks in Balkan countries and those that were never resolved.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, START, at the University of Maryland, drew up the GTD using a wide definition of terrorism.

Asked by BIRN about its methodology, START said it defined terrorism as “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation”.

For all attacks from 1998, terrorism is defined as “an intentional act of violence or threat of violence by a non-state actor” that has to meet two out of three additional criteria: an act aimed at attaining a political, economic, religious, or social goal; an intention to coerce, intimidate, or convey some other message to a larger audience other than the immediate victims; a violent act outside the precepts of international humanitarian law.

The map reveals a number of cases in Balkan countries, either in terms of the place where the act took place or in terms of the perpetrators or victims’ affiliation.

Albania is connected to 300 incidents, which puts it at the top of the list in the Balkans. They include the case of a car bomb in the port of Vlora in August 2014, when a businessman was killed.

Kosovo, with almost 298 attacks from 1994, includes recent cases from a few years ago. One unsolved case was the killing of Elvis Pista, a prospective MP from the Democratic Party of Kosovo, who was shot dead in his hometown of Rahovec/Orahovac in June 2014. There was also the shooting at the EULEX convoy near Zvecan, in Kosovska Mitrovica district, in which one EULEX officer was killed in September 2013.

Macedonia also ranks high on the Balkan list with 240 cases. They include the killing of five people at Smilkovci lake in 2012, for which six ethnic Albanians await retrial.

Serbia is connected to 201 cases, including the notorious assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic in Belgrade in 2003, as well as the unresolved case of the assassination of Kujo Krijestorac in 2004, a key witness scheduled to testify before the court in the Djindjic case.

Some 167 acts were recorded in Bosnia and Herzegovina, many dating from the 1992-5 war but including one case in Mostar in 1997, when a Bosniak, Sefik Sulejmanovic was killed and 22 others were wounded at a Muslim cemetery. The alleged Croat perpetrators are still on trial.

Including some cases from the war of the 1990s, Croatia is linked to 120 cases, including the unresolved case of the assassination of former soldier Milan Levar in Gospic in 2000. Levar was a witness to crimes committed in Gospic in 1991 against local ethnic Serb civilians.

Bulgaria, linked to 71 incidents, includes the unresolved bomb explosion in the Ambassador Hotel in Sofia in 2000 when two Armenian citizens were killed.

Montenegro includes 38 cases, including the unresolved case of the killing of Goran Zugic, a security adviser to President Milo Djukanovic, in Podgorica, in 2000.

Romania is at the bottom of the list, with 30 cases, the most recent ones including attacks on their soldiers in peacekeeping missions abroad.

NOTE: This article was amended on December 22. The previous version stated that incidents in Albania included a 2007 suicide attack near a barracks in Lakhdaria, when ten soldiers were killed and for which al-Qaida took responsibility, as the Global Terrorist Data, GTD database said. This incident actually took place in Algeria.

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