Praxis, the Regional Centre for Minorities and the OSCE Mission to Serbia reported 13 incidents of damage to property in connection with a football match between Serbia and Albania in October, during which an Albanian flag was towed behind a drone as it flew over the stadium. All of the targets were businesses associated with the Albanian community. The Regional Centre for Minorities also reported a further arson attack on a mosque in connection with the same football match. The Regional Centre for Minorities reported two assaults causing serious injury, including one assault against three members of an Ashkali family.
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Report Data - Serbia - 2014
In a first judgment expressly applying the hate crime provision in Serbian Criminal Code, a defendant received an enhanced sentence for a hate crime motivated by bias against sexual orientation, following arguments to that effect by the public prosecutor.
The Republic Public Prosecutor's Office, jointly with the OSCE Mission to Serbia and civil society, developed and published the Guidelines for Criminal Prosecution of Hate Crimes. The Guidelines, to which ODIHR contributed expert input, were disseminated and trainings for prosecutors are being conducted to solidify their principles into prosecutorial practice.
Pursuant to the Compulsory Instruction issued by the Republic Public Prosecutor, all Prosecutor's Offices have appointed a specialist hate crime prosecutor to monitor and record hate crime cases, liaise with case prosecutor and police officers, as well as with the victims and civil society organizations supporting them.
Praxis and the Regional Centre for Minorities reported an incident in which two Roma boys were physically assaulted in a bar and their musical instruments broken. The Regional Centre for Minorities reported two arson attacks, including one against the home of a Roma family, and a further series of physical assaults against eight Roma people resulting in serious injury, including broken ribs, to several victims, and a further physical assault. Praxis reported a further physical assault carried out by a group against a young Roma man.
Gayten-LGBT and Transgender Europe reported two physical assaults, one causing serious injury carried out by a group against a transgender woman, and one against a lesbian on a bus, as well as a threat against a transgender woman. The OSCE Mission to Serbia reported a physical assault against a gay man from Germany.
Jehovah's Witnesses – Serbia reported three physical assaults causing serious injuries, one of which involved a machete, four incidents of physical assault and four incidents of damage to places of worship.
The OSCE Mission to Serbia and the Government Office for Human and Minority Rights (OHMR) continued to support regular meetings of the informal inter-governmental group on hate crimes. This group provides a forum for dialogue on hate crimes among civil society and government representatives. The Mission and OHMR also hosted a regional conference focusing on the prosecution of hate crimes, attended by some 40 government and civil society representatives. Further, the Mission worked with the Judicial Academy to pilot a training seminar on hate crimes for members of the judiciary.
The OSCE Mission to Serbia reported that the Ministry of Interior launched a project with Labris to train some 120 police officers on addressing hate crimes against LGBT communities.
In his report following the country visit to Serbia, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe praised the country’s efforts in the field of hate crime training for judicial officials and the adoption of the "Action Plan for the Improvement of Work and Co-operation of the Police with Representatives and Associations of Persons of Different Sexual Orientation." He expressed concern over the large number of hate crimes targeting Roma and Sinti, and noted the persistent violence against LGBT people.
ODIHR observes that Serbia has not reported on hate crimes separately from cases of hate speech.
The governmental Office for Human and Minority Rights co-organized a regional conference on Prosecuting Hate Crimes in South-East Europe in December 2014. The conference brought together regional governmental representatives dealing with hate crimes, OSCE field operations and ODIHR.
The Information Office for Victims and Witnesses started working at the Higher Public Prosecutor's Office in Belgrade. The initiative is part of a project aimed at providing support to injured parties and witnesses, implemented by the Republic's Public Prosecutor's Office in co-operation with the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Belgrade.
Serbia’s government adopted the Action Plan for the Implementation of Strategies for the Prevention and Protection against Discrimination for the period 2014–2018. The Action Plan aims, among other activities, to establish a single database of criminal charges, number of convicted persons and range of sanctions related to acts of violence (and threats) committed on the basis of personal characteristics. The Action Plan also envisions training judiciary and prosecution personnel on communication with communities affected by discrimination and hate crimes.