Belgrade, June 29, 2011
STATEMENT ON POLICE TORTURE
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia and Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights YUCOM evaluate that the prompt reaction of the Ministry of Interior, as well as the arrest of the perpetrators of torture against a Roma in Vršac are a good step towards the reduction of police torture.
What casts a shadow over this case is the fact that the torture happened in 2007, while the reaction occured only after strong public pressure.
Adequate and prompt reactions of police, prosecution and judiciary, which were missing in the past, may lead to the certainty of the punishment of the perpetrators resulting in prevention of torture. At the same time, that would contribute to the readiness of the citizens to report cases of torture without any fear that they would be put under the pressure afterwards, or be exposed to the long-term process with uncertain outcome.
We note that in the internal control of Ministry of Interior there are currently a number of cases filed by YUCOM and other legal aid providers that point to the existence of torture, especially against marginalized groups, hence we expect that Ministry will show consistency and react in a timely manner. We also expect that certain cases will be re-opened and re-examined.
Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia