ERRC Letter to the General Prosecutor of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Vukašin Jokanović
7 November 1997
Honourable Mr. General Prosecutor,
The European Roma Rights Center, an international public interest law organisation which monitors the situation of Roma in Europe and provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse, is deeply concerned about the racially motivated killing of 14-year-old Dušan Jovanović by a group of skinheads in Belgrade on October 18, 1997.
According to information made available to the ERRC, Dušan was on his way to a store in the evening of Saturday, October 18, 1997, when he was stopped by a group of skinheads who demanded money from him and then started beating and kicking him all over his body. Dušan died on the street as a result of the beating, which evidently included smashing in his skull with a section of drainpipe. It has been reported that the police arrested several persons involved in the attack. According to the press, among those arrested are two seventeen-year-old skinheads who face charges for murder.
According to media reports, earlier in October of this year, skinheads attacked and beat to death a pregnant woman as she was walking with her children on Skadarska Street in Belgrade. On October 27, a group of skinheads severely beat two Roma, also in Belgrade. Romani activists in Yugoslavia have stated that violence against Roma by skinheads has increased considerably over the past few years and that attacks against them have occurred with impunity.
Honourable Mr. General Prosecutor, the ERRC welcomes the initial measures on the part of the law enforcement bodies of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in arresting alleged perpetrators for the killing of Dušan Jovanović. We urge you to see to that a prompt and impartial investigation be carried out into the crime and that those responsible be brought to justice and punished accordingly.
We additionally urge that all racially-motivated crimes against Roma in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia be firmly condemned and swiftly prosecuted. We kindly ask you to keep us informed about further developments in the case.