- Grave violations

In Serbian Prison

Good News!!
Dec 02

Efforts for release
Nov 25

-Criminal proceedings
Nov 22

Dr Flora Brovini
Nov 12

-Grave violations
Nov 08

List of detained Minors

Petition for the Release


Source: Humanitarian Law Center, Belgrade
November 8, 1999

Demand for the release of ethnic Albanians unlawfully detained on charges of political acts in connection with the Kosovo conflict

Information obtained by the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) points to grave violations of due process by Serbian judicial bodies and correctional institutions against ethnic Albanians who were arrested in the 24 March-10 June period this year on charges of terrorism and other criminal acts against the constitutional order of FR Yugoslavia prior to 24 March, or who have been convicted of criminal offenses in connection with the Kosovo conflict.

According to the HLC's information, some 350 Kosovo Albanians are currently being held without any legal grounds. The 30-day detention period set by the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs on the basis of the FR Yugoslavia government's decree on the application of the Criminal Procedure Code during the state of war expired five and more months ago. The persons being held include minors of the age of thirteen, among them Ekrem Nebihi.

HLC attorneys Ibish Hoti and Mustafa Radoniqi, defense counsel for several Albanians detained at the Sremska Mitrovica penitentiary and correctional institution, have not been permitted to see their clients.
No explanation has been given.

Trials are frequently scheduled without the indictments being first delivered to the accused or their lawyers or, when delivered, they are in the Serbian language. Furthermore, courts neglect to summon lawyers from Kosovo retained by the accused or members of their families.

Defendants are assigned court-appointed attorneys, some of whom fail to appear in the courtroom on the trial date. The HLC has noted also that various intermediaries often recommend that accused Albanians retain lawyers from Serbia, for whom defending Albanians charged with political offenses has become a lucrative business. In addition, trials are held without professional interpreters so that the majority of defendants are unable to follow the proceedings.

Serbian judicial bodies thus systemically violate the rights of detained persons guaranteed by Article 24 of the FR Yugoslavia Constitution, Article 16 of the Serbian Constitution, articles 190 through 200 of the Yugoslav Criminal Procedure Code, and generally recognized international standards.
Since the detainees in Serbia are Kosovo Albanian civilians who were arrested after 24 March while on their way to neighboring Albania after being driven from their homes by the security forces, and persons accused of being members of or aiding the Kosovo Liberation Army, the HLC strongly urges the highest Serbian government and judicial officials to initiate the procedure for the release of those who are being unlawfully detained and accused of political acts in connection with the Kosovo conflict.

The Humanitarian Law Center reiterates its appeal to the relevant Serbian authorities to release immediately 25 Kosovo Albanian minors, around 200 wounded and sick, and Igbale Gjafaj and her four-month baby, considering their detention primarily as a humanitarian problem which must be dealt with on a priority basis.
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