2003 Report by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Theo van Boven


1964. By letter dated 2 September 2002, the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information according to which ill-treatment by law-enforcement officers continued to be a major concern in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In the Leskovac area alone, over 100 allegations of police ill- treatment had allegedly been reported from January to June 2002. Reports of ill-treatment of ethnic Albanians by police were said to have continued in Southern Serbia. In most cases, those who have complained about such ill-treatment have reportedly received a standard letter from the Ministry of Internal Affairs stating that the case had been investigated, that it had been confirmed that police officers (always unnamed) had acted illegally and that unspecified “disciplinary measures” had been taken against them. On 25 May 2002, two prison warders allegedly beat five inmates of Vranje prison because they were suspected of being in the possession of a mobile phone. Two of the inmates, Shpetin Shabani and Murat Ze cirja, were reportedly beaten so badly that they lost consciousness and sustained severe contusions.

1965. In the very few reported cases in which police officials were tried for torture and found guilty, the sentences imposed were said to have been below six months. It was reported that sentences of six months or above would lead to dismissal from the police force. On 13 June 2002, two officers were reportedly sentenced to two months’ imprisonment suspended for one year for torturing Georg Tani on 23 November 2000, while on 8 July two other officers received three-month sentences for torturing a Rom in May 1998. The maximum sentence under current legislation is said to be three years. In March 2002, a new criminal procedure code was reportedly adopted. Article 13 of the new criminal procedure code is said to allow all detainees immediate access to defence counsel. While torture as a crime reportedly does not form part of specific domestic legislation, Article 12 of the new code is said to forbid and punish the use of any kind of violence on a detainee.+

1966. In particular, the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information on the following individual cases. By letter dated 5 November 2002, the Government responded to some of them.

1967. Kosta Stankovic, Nemanja Jovic, and Milan Milovanovic were reportedly severely beaten by six policemen on 16 March 2002, whilst the police was breaking up a student birthday party in Belgrade after complaints had been made about loud music. Kosta Stankovic and Nemanja Jovic reportedly suffered a burst eardrum. When Milan Milovanovic took down the officers’ numbers and said he would sue, he was allegdly bundled into a police car, repeatedly beaten and taken to the Zvezdara woods where he was kneed in the head several times.

1968. Nenad Miljkovic, aged 18, was reportedly tortured by falaka (beatings on the soles of his feet) by three policemen at Vucje police station near Leskovac in June 2002 to make him confess to theft, which he denied.

1969. Nenad Živkovic was reportedly stopped in his car in Leskovac on 30 May 2002 by two policemen who allegedly punched him repeatedly. The policemen then took him to his home where they allegedly physically assaulted his mother, aged 65, Stojanka Živkovic, by pulling her ears. Nenad Živkovic was subsequently hospitalised for bruises to his head and body.

1970. Stancic Dragan, aged 13 and Ristic Ljuvica (f) aged 14, were allegedly washing the windscreens of cars that had come to a halt in a busy intersection in Belgrade on 29 June 2002 when a police car approached them. A policeman reportedly shouted aggressively at the boy to go away and then allegedly smacked him across his face with the back of his hand, causing Stancic's lip to split open. The same policeman then reportedly swore at the girl, slapped and punched her left cheek.

1971. The Government indicated that a patrol of traffic police had been sent to the referred intersection, where unknown minors were disrupting the traffic, walking on the carriageway, begging and offering to wash the windshields. The head of the police patrol repeatedly instructed them to get away of the carriageway. However, no evidence had been found that this person insulted or ill-treated the minors.

1972. Three children were reportedly beaten and insulted by police officers on 9 July 2002 near the village of Americ, near Mladenovac. The police were said to have been looking for firearms allegedly hidden by their father said to be held in detention during a search of their house. One of the children, Dragan Djuric, aged 15, was said to be handicapped and to have been forced to dig a hole in the garden. The children were also believed to have been threatened with being subject to electric shocks if they did not answer the questions of the three police officers. It was reported that the Belgrade Police Department had later denied all allegations of ill-treatment of the children, but it was now known whether an investigation into their allegations took place.

1973. The Government responded that accusations relating to abuse and ill- treatment of children, and in particular those pertaining to Dalibor, were absolutely untrue. The Government stated that on the basis of complete investigation as well as on the basis of the interviews conducted with police officers of the Department, no evidence had been found that would confirm accusations for abuse and ill treatment.

Follow-up to previously transmitted communications

1974. By letter dated 12 December 2002, the Government responded to cases included in previous letters sent by the Special Rapporteur.

1975. Concerning the murder of 24 Albanians in Drenica village (E/CN.4/1999/61, para. 799), the Government informed that the police officers opened fire after they were caught in ambush by terrorists. The Government assured the Special Rapporteur that the use of arms by the police was in accordance with the law and that the police did not kill the persons who surrendered, nor did it massacre those who perished during the encounter. According to the Government, it cannot be excluded that the injures sustained by the corpses were a result of the use of grenades and high caliber arms and that terrorists massacred bodies after they were handed over to the families by the police.

1976. Concerning Rexhep Bislimi (ibid., para. 800), the Government assured the Special Rapporteur that according to the Urosevac Secretariat for Internal Affairs, he was not physically ill-treated. Medical, police and pathology documentation remained at the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Pristina.

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