The Public Prosecutor’s Office in Stara Pazova dismissed the criminal charges brought against persons unknown by activists of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights who were attacked on the promotion of the book by a convicted war criminal Veselin Šljivancanin, held in Beška in January 2017 and organized by the Serbian Progressive Party.

In the explanation given by the Prosecutor it’s stated, without much twisting,  that it is quite normal to physically attack the human rights activists who are whistling against the war criminal. Numerous conclusions made by the Prosecution are a reflection of political and general culture in Serbia, which in various situations considers violence as justified, sometimes even necessary.

Youth Initiative for Human Rights believes that the Public Prosecutor’s office should be the leader in fighting against violence, which, as a galloping cancer, exacerbates our society while taking away many human lives. Instead of the rule of law, that violence is setting the power of the stronger as the basis for social relations. On the other hand, in many other cases known to the public (and probably even more of those which are not), the Public Prosecutor has chosen not to offend the ruling party and the conservative and violent parts of our society.

Stating that “from the medical report for Sofia Todorović it follows that she was hit with fists in her head and back and pushed down the stairs while hitting her head against the wall” the Prosecution concludes that the injuries were not inflicted “by means capable to seriously injure or damage someone’s health nor body”. It is very clear that the Prosecution claims that it is impossible to hurt a person by fists, pushing down the stairs, or hitting a head against the wall.

Further legal logic and protection of citizens’ rights are ignored in order to emphasize one of the worst narratives used in the part of the Serbian society that supports and justifies violence by using the argument of “short skirt”.

Thus, the Prosecution concludes that there was no criminal offense nor abusive behavior in the case of beating activists, because “the incident at the book promotion was caused precisely by the applicants …, because until the moment when they showed the banner everything went smoothly and in the best order, only after applicants and other activists showed the banner and whistled, there has been a threat to the security of the citizens and the disturbance of public order and peace.”

Therefore, the Prosecution finds that inner feelings of the visitors of the book promotion organized by the Serbian Progressive Party are more important, and further concludes that the activists rights were not deprived nor limited because “throwing out people from where the debate was held is a normal behavior if those people are disrupting public event.”

Youth Initiative for Human Rights will object to this Prosecution’s decision, and use every available legal mean to so. More importantly, the Initiative will continue to fight against violence in public space, those who are celebrating war criminals, and all kinds of justification and relativisation of war crimes.