Dzemajl v FR Yugoslavia

24 April 2010

Forum: Committee Against Torture
ERRC: Representative
Status: Implementation

The case was brought by 65 nationals of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, all of Romani origin, who lived in the Bozova Glavica Romani settlement, in Danilovgrad. Two Romani minors confessed under duress to the rape of a Montenegrin girl. As a consequence, a group of non-Romani residents of Danilovgrad entered the Bozova Glavica Romani settlement. The mob, with stones and other objects, broke windows of cars and houses belonging to Roma and set them on fire in order to drive out the Roma community. The police were present, but did nothing or not enough to protect the Romani residents of Bozova Glavica or their property during this event.

After their domestic claims were failed, the applicants brought a claim in front of the Committee against Torture in 1999, arguing that the State party had violated Article 2(1) read in conjunction with Articles 1, 16(1), and 12, 13, 14 taken alone or together with Article 16(1) of the Convention. The claimants mainly argued that the State failed to fulfill its obligation to investigate and that it did not provide effective remedies to the claimants. They also suggested that a given level of physical abuse is more likely to constitute degrading or inhuman treatment or punishment when motivated by racial animus, regarding the consent or acquiescence of the police whose duty under the law was to secure their safety and afford them protection. Eventually, the claimants complained of the absence of redress and of fair and adequate compensation.

In 2002, the UN Committee Against Torture issued its conclusions, that the Yugoslav States failure to react to the violent evictions, forced displacement and the destruction of homes and property constituted torture within the meaning of Article 1(1), of the Convention, and not merely cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as covered by Article 16. Eventually, in June 2003, the Montenegrin government agreed to pay more than one million USD dollars compensation to the Romani victims of the pogrom.

Case Documents

Judgment: View it (MSWord doc format)!

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