Roma Violently Attacked in Serbia and Montenegro

11 March 2005

At around 11:00 PM on August 30, 2004, a group of approximately fifteen ethnic Serbian men attacked the family of Mr Ivan Konovalov, a 25-year-old Romani man from the central Serbian town of Jagodina, according to Mr Konovalov's testimony to the ERRC and its partner organisation Minority Rights Center (MRC). According to Mr Konovalov, on the evening in question, Mr Konovalov and his father, Mr Dejan Konovalov, went outside after hearing shouting. Mr Konovalov and his father were confronted by two men, one of whom was holding a metal tool used to loosen car wheels, who angrily demanded that musicians, who rent part of their house, play for them then threatened to kill everyone and smash their property. Dejan Konovalov said that the musicians were not there and would not play and told the men not to threaten them. The two men then reportedly left the area, warning that they would soon return to kill everyone. Mr Konovalov told the ERRC/MRC that soon thereafter, approximately fifteen men arrived in four cars and blocked the entrance to their street. The attackers reportedly began beating everyone present, including Mr Konovalov, women and children and damaged Mr Konovalov's house, breaking windows and a metal fence. Ms Miljana Konovalov, Mr Konovalov's sister, testified that she was visiting her mother-in-law down the street when she heard screaming. She reportedly ran home and saw several men throwing stones and bricks at her two daughters, who were home at the time, and trying to hit them with baseball bats. Ms Konovalov stated that one of her daughters was hit with a baseball bat and when she tried to protect her, she was hit as well. Her daughter sustained slight bodily injuries. Ms Konovalov also reported that the attackers pushed her cousin, Ms Darinka Pavlovilost consciousness while being beaten and was taken to hospital for treatment. Mr RistiMr Ristić also stated that police officers, who arrived at the scene after being called, watched part of the incident, then left after the attackers left. According to ERRC/MRC research, a police investigation into the incident had concluded as of Novem-ber 2004 and seven perpetrators had been charged with disturb-ing the peace and public order, in accordance with Article 6(4) of the Criminal Code of Serbia and Montenegro. The family had not filed complaints against the per-petrators out of fear of reprisal.



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