Attacks on Roma in Yugoslavia

10 April 2001

According to field research by the Belgrade-based non-governmental organisation Humanitarian Law Center (Fond za humanitarno pravo), a drunk 40-year-old Serbian man stopped a group of three fourteen-year-old boys — L.K., N.D. and M.P. — in a street in their neighbourhood on January 6, 2001, in the Borča district of Belgrade, Serbia. L.K. is of mixed ethnic origin, while his two friends are ethnic Serbs. The man called out to L.K., using an anti-Romani racial slur, and asked whether he was Serbian or Romani. The man threatened the boys with a handgun, forcing L.K. to cross himself, and making the boys drink alcohol with him. Then the man pointed the gun at the head of one of the Serbian boys and fired, but missed. The boys managed to run away to L.K.’s house, where his mother called the police. According to the Belgrade daily newspaper Glas javnosti of January 11, during the ensuing police investigation the man confessed everything and also made a statement that “all Roma should be killed.”

The HLC has also reported on another case by non-state actors violence in Belgrade. On October 5, 2000, according to the HLC, a Romani man, thirty-two year-old Mr Sali Demirović, had gone out of his home at around 9:00 PM to buy some orange juice at a shop near his home in Zrenjanin, Vojvodina, northern Serbia. He was walking down a street near his home when three men with shaved heads and wearing military-style boots and camouflage trousers approached Mr Demirović and insulted his ethnicity before starting to beat him. They punched him to the ground and kicked him as he lay on the ground. Mr Demirović required 12 days of hospital treatment for a broken nose, black eye and multiple contusions to his back and stomach. The ERRC was unaware of any legal action taken in connection with either case as of April 24, 2001.

(Glas javnosti, HLC)


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