At the conference hall of the Institute of Social Sciences in Belgrade, at 11:00 am, the Forum for Ethnic Relations held a press conference on the subject of the claim filed against the Republic of Serbia regarding freedom of speech on the issue of Kosovo and reactions by Serbian authorities: the experience of the Forum for Ethnic Relations.
Conference speakers were Dr Dušan Janjic, Coordinator of the Forum for Ethnic Relations and Dusan Ignjatovic, acting as a lawyer for the Forum in the claim against the Republic of Serbia.
Attorney Dušan Ignjatović gave introduction by providing a background to the journalists, the genesis and culmination of the situation that led to this – from criminal charges against NN persons from the Coordination Center to the claim against the Republic of Serbia under which jurisdiction the Coordination Center exists. Ignjatović pointed to the text published in the daily “Politika”, which gives the legal basis for filing criminal charges and the claim, due to the dissemination of false information (defamation). He provided legal explanations and explained the course of the case, and said that even after contacting relevant institutions (Minister of Justice and Public Prosecutor’s office), the progress so far has been surprisingly slow, which indicates that acting state bodies are continuing the practice of the Milosevic’s regime. In the claim, we seek that upon court ruling in our favor, the defendant the Republic of Serbia undertakes to publish a copy of the court ruling in the daily Politika at own expense, as a kind of moral satisfaction of the claimant. Also, the claimant seeks RSD 2,000,000 from RS, which the claimant will pay into the Serbian Government’s Fund for Kosovo and Metohija.
Dušan Janjić pointed out to the similarities between the latest developments and the 2000 events that preceded the fall of Milosevic. A very interesting fact is that in 2000, as in the present situation, the cause of the attack on the Forum and him personally was the report on Kosovo and Metohija. However, the similarity of the mode of operation now and back then is worrying moment as well as the emergence of Milosevic’s spirit in Serbia only proves that “… Miloševic left his cadets but these people are insufficiently trained and insufficiently capable”. Janjić argues that the purpose of filing the criminal complaint and claim is to uncover people who abuse state services and state institutions. The goal is to stop the violence carried out by the state in an attempt to enforce the ban on free speech (for all citizens). Because of all this, it was decided to use the legal state mechanisms to achieve this goal. However, if this procedure is obstructed (as many have been in the past), judicial legitimacy protection will be sought in Strasbourg.