Impunity in the Case of the Murder of Dada Vujasinovic

Update: 23 Feb 2018 No state reply yet
Year 02 Apr 2015 Country Serbia Category Impunity for murder Source of threat State Partner RSF Alert level Level 1
02 Apr 2015 Serbia Impunity for murder State RSF Level 1
No state reply yet

Radislava Dada Vujasinović, a Serbian journalist and reporter, was found shot dead at her parents’ home in Belgrade in the early hours of 8 April 1994. Immediately after the body’s discovery, the police said Vujasinović had shot herself with a hunting rifle but the family disputed this, pointing to omissions and inconsistences in the investigation including the failure to question neighbours and analyse evidence found at the scene, and the fact that the suicide ruling was reached without referring to a judge. The family obtained independent expert opinions and repeatedly but unsuccessfully asked the judicial authorities to pursue the case. Independent reports finally led to the reopening of the investigation but the Serb authorities were incapable of shedding any light on her death. In January 2013, the Serb government supported the creation of a commission of enquiry into the deaths of Vujasinović and two other Serb journalists, Slavko Ćuruvija and Milan Pantić. The commission of enquiry was launched by Veran Matić. But still today, progress has to be made to reach the truth.

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New 23 Feb 2018 : Commissioner for Human Rights: ‘Concerted efforts needed to protect media freedoms in Serbia’

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20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
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