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Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2005 - Serbia-Montenegro

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 22 March 2006
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2005 - Serbia-Montenegro, 22 March 2006, available at: [accessed 21 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Violence against demonstrators48

On 10 July 2005, a peaceful demonstration organised in Belgrade by the NGO Women in Black to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre was violently disrupted by a group of extremists who threw tear gas at the demonstrators and insulted them.

Harassment of HLC and its members49

On 22 March and 11 July 2005, a Star of David was sprayed on the plaque of the Humanitarian Law Centre (HLC), along with anti-Semitic messages.

Furthermore, in early July 2005, a complaint was filed by the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) against Mrs. Natata Kandic, HLC executive director. The complaint followed a televised statement by Mrs. Kandic broadcast on 13 June 2005, in which she named Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, SRS vice-president, as one of those responsible for the killing of 191 civilians in Matic in 1991.

On 23 July 2005, Mr. Aleksandar Vucic, SRS secretary general and a member of Parliament, stated that if the case did not result in a condemnation by 15 October 2005, there would be "half a million people in the streets of Belgrade".

The SRS complaint was dismissed by the Fourth Municipal Prosecutor's Office in Belgrade.

However, on 9 September 2005, a preliminary investigation was opened against Mrs. Natata Kandic and Mr. Veran Matic, editor of television channel B92, by the Belgrade District Prosecutor for "verbal offences against the State", a charge that refers to offences against persons protected by the State as mentioned in Article 98 §1 of the Serbian Criminal Code (President of the Republic, President of the Parliament, etc.). Yet, as the head of a political party, Mr. Nikolic did not fall within this category. The first preliminary hearing in the case was held on 7 November 2005.

By the end of 2005, the proceedings were still pending.

Finally, on 21 July 2005, Mr. Tatomir Lekovic, a lawyer working with HLC, was attacked in Kragujevac by an unknown assailant, receiving serious injuries to his head and body. The attack was very probably linked to his work with HLC, in particular his investigatory work to establish responsibility for war crimes committed by Serbian forces in Kosovo. Before this attack, Mr. Lekovic had been harassed and threatened by some police officers, who were allegedly implicated in war crimes or other criminal matters.

Harassment of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia and of its members50

On 11 July 2005, a Star of David was sprayed on the walls of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia (HCHR), along with anti-Semitic messages

In addition, the harassment and intimidation of Mrs. Sonja Biserko, HCHR president, continued in 2005. On 8 September 2005 in particular, the newspaper Tabloid accused her of being a "Croatian spy". The birth dates of her parents and her address were published. She was physically assaulted on several occasions and her home was vandalised.

Furthermore, copies of the book Military Secret, confiscated on 26 March 2004 during a police raid on HCHR offices in Belgrade, had still not been returned. By the end of 2005, the investigation opened against its author, Mr. Vladan Vlakovic, on charges of "disclosing military secrets" (Article 224 §1 and §2 of the Criminal Code), was still pending.

Death threats and insults against Mr. Dragutin Vidosavljevic51

On 31 July 2005, Mr. Dragutin Vidosavljevic, a lawyer of the Committee for Human Rights in Vlasotince, was insulted on the street by Mr. Goran Velickovic, a local police officer, who was visibly drunk. The latter stated that he was going to "slit his throat as he had slit the throats of other people in Kosovo". Mr. Vidosavljevic then attempted to enter a shop but the policeman grabbed him by the neck and hit him in the face. Mr. Vidosavljevic then defended himself and hurried to the nearest police station. As he was waiting in the reception area, Mr. Velickovic appeared and struck him again.

The next day, the Leskovac police circulated a report accusing both Mr. Vidosavljevic and Mr. Velickovic of disturbing public order. The report stated that the police officer had been "slightly injured" but omitted any mention of the victim's injuries. Two medical reports written by the doctors who examined Mr. Vidosavljevic referred to "cuts to the leg", "bruises on the lips" and "trauma to the head".

By the end of 2005, no inquiry had been opened.

[Refworld note: This report as posted on the FIDH website ( was in pdf format with country chapters run together by region. Footnote numbers have been retained here, so do not necessarily begin at 1.]

48. See Open Letter to the authorities of Serbia-Montenegro, 30 August 2005.

49. See Open Letter to the authorities of Serbia-Montenegro, 30 August 2005 and Urgent Appeal SER 001/1105/OBS 113.

50. See Open Letter to the authorities of Serbia-Montenegro, 30 August 2005.

51. See Observatory statement before OSCE, under the item of the agenda "Freedom of association and peaceful assembly", September 2005.

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