Police Violence against Roma in Serbia and Montenegro

07 November 2002

According to a July 4, 2002 press release of the Belgrade-based non-governmental organisation Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), on June 29, 2002, in the afternoon, Dragan Stančić, a 13-year-old Romani boy and Ljubica Ristić, a 14-year-old Romani girl, were verbally and physically abused by two police officers in Belgrade. The HLC reported that the boy and girl were washing car windows at an intersection in Belgrade when a police vehicle arrived. According to the HLC, Dragan Stančić reported that the officer driving, Officer S.B., got out of car and grabbed him by the ear shouting, "Get away from here! Are you trying to make a monkey out of me?" The officer then hit Dragan Stančić hard in the face with the back of his hand, splitting his lip, according to the HLC. The same officer reportedly slap-ped Ljubica Ristić and punched her left cheek. The HLC reported that, according to Ljubica Ristić, when she picked up her keys, she saw the badge number of the officer that remained in the car. She subsequently provided the badge number to the HLC. On July 4, 2002, the HLC reportedly asked Mr Miroslav Milošević, head of the Internal Control Department of the Belgrade Police Department, to take appropriate steps against the two officers involved in the incident. On July 5, 2002, HLC reported that, the day before, the Belgrade Police Department had denied that the officers had undertaken any abusive actions towards Ljubica Ristić and Dragan Stančić. On October 30, 2002, the HLC informed the ERRC/MRC that nothing further had happened in the case, as Ljubica Ristić and Dragan Stančić could not be contacted.

On July 25, 2002, Mr Halji Hasanaj, a 23-year-old Romani man displaced from Kosovo, together with seven of his Romani friends, was harassed by two police officers in Belgrade, according to his testimony given to the ERRC, in co-operation the Belgrade-based non-governmental organisation Minority Rights Center (MRC). Mr Hasanaj reported that, for several years, he had been living in Belgrade, earning a living by washing car windows. According to Mr Hasanaj, he was washing car windows with seven of his friends near the Faculty of Theology of the University of Belgrade when two police officers drove up and parked their car close by. The officers reportedly got out of their car and began yelling at Mr Hasanaj and his friends. Mr Hasanaj stated that the officers ordered Mr Hasanaj and a number of other Roma into the back seat of their car and insulted their ethnic origin. The officers then allegedly pushed them into the car and drove to the police station. Eight persons were reportedly detained. Mr Hasanaj informed the ERRC/MRC that, at the police station, the officers shouted at them and slapped them. The officers then reportedly let all eight persons go and warned them that if the officers saw them near the Faculty of Theology again, they would be arrested.



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