Violence against Roma in Serbia and Montenegro

07 November 2002

During ERRC field investigation, conducted in co-operation with the Belgrade-based non-governmental organisation Minority Rights Center (MRC), the ERRC's partner in monitoring Roma rights in Serbia and Montenegro, Ms Hatmona Zećiri, a 30-year-old Romani woman, testified to the ERRC/MRC that, at the end of June 2002, a man driving a car with a trailer attached attempted to run over Ms Zećiri and her 6-year-old daughter Đurijeta. According to Ms Zećiri, on the day in question, she walked down the stairs that led to the Deponija Romani settlement in the Karaburma district of Belgrade and noticed a red car with a trailer parked on the street. As Ms Zećiri walked down the street towards the settlement, she passed the car, which then reportedly began to move. According to Ms Zećiri, the car was moving fast towards her and her daughter, so they began to run. Ms Zećiri reported that the car was chasing them, so she and her daughter ran between two pillars to avoid being hit, at which point she noticed the car get stuck after the trailer swerved. Ms Zećiri stated that she and her daughter ran to the doorman at a nearby factory. As Ms Zećiri was trying to tell the doorman what had happened, the same red car drove up to the doorman's booth. When the driver saw that she was inside, the driver sped away. Ms Zećiri informed the ERRC/MRC that she was unable to write down the license plate number of the car. As of November 4, 2002, nothing had happened in the case because Ms Zećiri had been unable to make out the license plate number of the car.

In other news, ERRC/MRC field research revealed that, on June 12, 2002, at approximately 10:00 AM, Ms Radmila Marinković, a 25-year-old Romani woman, was verbally and physically assaulted by a skinhead, who was later identified as Mr D.T., while working on a trolley in Belgrade. Ms Marinković testified to the ERRC/MRC that she was collecting fares on trolley number 28 when Mr D.T. entered the vehicle. Ms Marinković reported that she immediately sat next to her husband, who was on the trolley, out of fear. According to Ms Marinković, Mr D.T. then sat next to her, blocked her legs so she could not get up and began cursing at her and insulted her ethnicity. Ms Marinković testified that he then threatened to kill her if he saw her working on the trolley again and spat on her twice. At this point, Ms Marinković reported looking at Mr D.T., who then kicked her three or four times on her thigh and right hip. According to Ms Marinković, her husband, 27-year-old Mr Zoran Krajišniković, stood up to ask the driver to keep the door closed and call the police, but the driver opened the door and Mr D.T. ran away. Mr Krajišniković and another passenger, Mr Veroljub Burić, reportedly chased Mr D. T., but were unable to catch him.

Ms Marinković informed the ERRC/MRC that later that day she visited the Emergency Medical Centre for medical treatment and received a medical certificate attesting to her injuries. The Centre reportedly called the police at Ms Marinković's request. According to Ms Marinković, a police officer came to the Centre and interviewed her. Following the interview, the officer reportedly told Ms Marinković that he would be waiting outside for her, but when she left the Centre, the officer was not there. According to Ms Marinković, Mr Dragoljub Acković, director of the Rrominterpress Information Agency, reported the incident to the public soon thereafter and two officers immediately came and took Ms Marinković's statement and she reportedly identified Mr D.T. from photographs she was shown at the police station. Ms Marinković told the ERRC that she later also identified him in a police line-up. Mr D.T. was reportedly charged in accordance with Article 134 of the Criminal Code of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for provoking national, racial or religious hatred and intolerance. As of October 25, 2002, a criminal investigation being conducted by the District Court of Belgrade was ongoing. The MRC was representing Ms Marinković in legal proceedings.



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