BILJANA KOVAČEVIĆ-VUČO (1952-2010)
Biljana Kovačević-Vučo, president of Lawyer’s Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM, passed away on April 20th 2010 in Belgrade.
Kovačević-Vučo was well-known human rights defender and one of the founders of the Yugoslav Action NGO and the independent union Nezavisnost in March 1999.
She was also a member of the Working Group for the Future of former Yugoslavia (established at a conference in Bratislava in July 1999. which was organized by EastWest Institute from New York).
During her long career as a peace movement and human rights activist, Kovačević-Vučo was the founder of the Human Rights Council of Center for Antiwar Action in Belgrade and head of the SOS helpline for the victims of political, ethnic and workplace discrimination.
She also founded and was secretary general of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights Office for Legal Help in Belgrade from 1994 until 1997, president of the Democracy Transition Center executive board in 1997, and founder and president of YUCOM since 1997.
During her career as a lawyer she worked at the Commercial Court in Belgrade from 1978 until 1988 and as a senior associate at the Serbian Supreme Court’s criminal and civil departments from 1988 until 1996.
Kovačević-Vučo represented journalist Željko Bodrožić in the only case which Serbia lost before the UN Human Rights Council. Kovačević-Vučo was a member of the YUCOM expert and lawyers team which won two cases before European Court of Human Rights.
■ Biljana Kovačević-Vučo was an active promoter of human rights in Serbia. In her long carrier in peace movement and human rights-related activities she was, among other, a founding member of the Council for Human Rights of the Center for Anti-War Action in Belgrade and head of Center’s SOS Hotline Legal Advice Service to Victims of Political, Ethnic and Trade Union Discrimination (1992-95), founding member, secretary-general of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia and head of its Legal Aid Department (1994-1997), president of the executive board of the Center for Transition to Democracy (1997), and founding member and chairperson of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (since 1997), former Yugoslav Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.
■ Biljana Kovačević-Vučo was also a founding member and coordinator of the Yugoslav Action of NGOs and the Independent TU “Nezavisnost” (March, 1999), member of the Task Force on the Future of the FR Yugoslavia (founded in July, 1999, at the Bratislava Conference organized by the East West Institute from New York).
■ She wrote numerous articles, written and co-written publications, and gave interviews and public statements on human rights issues. In her legal carrier she also worked as a legal adviser in District Commercial Court in Belgrade (1978-1988), and senior legal adviser in criminal and civil law department of Supreme Court of Serbia (1988-1996).
■ Since 1996 she is the licensed attorney at law in Belgrade, with the office specialized in criminal law and human rights cases and issues, such as refugees, citizenship, academic freedoms, freedom of expression, access to information, sexual harassment, instigation of violence cases, and many other.
■ She died on April 20th 2010.