14 Nov 2018

Serbia issues historic verdict against hate crime

Six years after incorporating "hate crime" into its criminal code, Serbia has considered the motive of hate as an aggravating circumstance in the sentencing of an individual for domestic violence against an LGBT+ person. 

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Serbia issues historic verdict against hate crime - NewsMavens
Gavel and books, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

The Criminal Code of Serbia regulated "hate crimes" in 2012. Article 54a of the Code states that:

If the criminal act was committed based on hatred due to racial or religious affiliation, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity of another person, that circumstance will be considered by the court as an aggravating circumstance. 

Judicial bodies, however, are not trained -- or have poorly developed skills -- in using this particular legislative tool in practice. 

This explains the fact that it was used as a legal mechanism against violence and discrimination for the first time only six years after it entered the law books. But this reason cannot be used as an excuse for much longer. 

Details from the story:

  • The lawsuit was filed by 36-year-old member of LGBT+ community, who has been a victim of domestic violence for years. His father, the offender in the case, said that he wouldn't have behaved so if his son was not an LGBT+ person. This helped law officials to determine that the crime was motivated by hatred. 
  • On November 2, the court took the motive of "hate crime" into consideration when imposing a sentence on the father.
  • Members of the LGBT+ community experience violence by family members in 40 percent of the cases, according to a recent statement of the Serbian Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM).  
  • Therefore, the YUCOM statement added, this sentence is an important step in protection of LGBT+ community and members of other minority groups in Serbia. 

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