Romani Man Shot in Macedonia

10 July 2002

A Romani man and a soldier were wounded in an incident that occurred in the training area of the Macedonian Army in the village of Krivolak, central Macedonia, on February 4, 2002, at approximately 6:00 PM. According to an article published on February 6, 2002, in the Skopje daily Večer, the incident took place when an army patrolintercepted a group of Romanicivilians who were driving two carts loaded with wood. According to the paper, the patrol asked the group to stop, which they failed to do. As the group continued to approach the patrol, one of the soldiers fired a warning shot in the air. After this, the cart still reportedly continued moving towards the soldiers, and ran over one of them, causing him bodily injury. In response, the other soldiers fired three shots at the group, and wounded a civilian. Both wounded were given first aid and taken to a medical institution in the nearby town of Negotino. However, research of the Štip-based Association for Human Rights Protection of Roma (Zdruzenie za pravata na Romite – ARRP), an ERRC local partner in Macedonia, provided a different account of the same incident. According to eyewitness testimony provided to the ARRP on February 8, 2002, Mr Same Šabanovski, his son Mr Senad Šabanovski, Mr Memet Ametov, Mr Beki Memkov and Mr Sandokan Ustinov were driving two carts loaded with firewood toward their village of Krivolak. On their way, they were met by a group of at least five Macedonian soldiers. The ARRP reported that one of the soldiers immediately fired in the air. The patrol then surrounded the carts and directed the Roma to drive towards the military barracks. At a crossroad on the way, the soldiers fired in the air again and scared one of the horses, which caused it to run in the opposite direction, while the cart it dragged ran over one of the soldiers. At this point, the othersoldiers from the group reportedly started firing shots, despite shouts from Mr Šabanovski, who was in the cart, that they should not do it because it would only scare the horse even more. One of the bullets hit Mr Same Šabanovski's right leg under the knee, and he fell off the cart. As the horse continued running away, the soldiers shot it from behind. According to the testimony given to the ARRP, the soldiers refused to assist the wounded Mr Šabanovski, using offensive terms against Roma, and then left. Only when another group of soldiers arrived on the spot was a car called to take Mr Šabanovski to the Negotino medical centre, from which he was first transported to the town of Veles and later to Skopje, where he was held in a hospital in intensive care and the bullet was removed from his leg. Mr Šabanovski remained in hospital until March 4, 2002. According to a certificate issued by the Scopje Medical Center, Mr Šabanovski was again hospitalised from March 22, 2002, as a result of his injuries from the shooting. Furthermore, according to a certificate issued by the Negotino Physiotherapy Centre, from May 7 to May 21, 2002, Mr Šabanovski underwent intensive therapy for the injuries he sustained as a result of the shooting. The ARRP wrote letters to the Ministry of Interior of Negotino on February 13, 2002, the Public Prosecutor's Office in Kavadarci on February 14, 2002, and the Public Prosecutor's Office in Skopje on February 18, 2002. On March 1, 2002, the ARRP was informed by the officials of the Ministry of Interior in Negotino that they should refer to the Ministry of Interior of Skopje, while on March 6, they were told by the Public Prosecutor's Office in Skopje that the office of the Ministry of Interior in Negotino was conducting the investigation into the case. As of June 27, 2002, no official decision had been rendered in connection with the case. The ARRP is providing legal assistance to the Romani victims of this incident.

(Association for Human Rights Protection of Roma, ERRC, Večer)

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