Minor in Detention for More Than Six Months

The Committee of Lawyers for Human Rights YUCOM, Civil Rights Defenders and the Regional Centre for Minorities are concerned about the news of yet another postponement in the trial against the Roma boy, accused of murdering a Serbian boy in the village Jabuka in July 2010. Our three organisations have monitored the case closely. We requested permission to be present at the main hearing on 7 December, but this was denied.

We request that the trial of the Roma boy (B.J.) be concluded as soon as possible, as the legal maximum of detention of minors has already been exceeded. We also insist that non-governmental organisations dealing with protection of human rights, and whose mandates include monitoring of trials, be allowed presence at the next hearing and that the procedure be completed with full respect of the right to an objective, impartial and fair trial.

Considering the fact that a minor person is on trial, the case should have been closed by 9 December 2010, within six months, which represents a legal maximum of the time a minor may spend in detention. Nevertheless, a hearing scheduled for 23 December was postponed until 28 December due to the failure of the neuropsychiatrist, who was called as an expert witness, to appear in court. The trial scheduled for 28 December was postponed yet again due to the emergence of new circumstances, thus casting doubt into the readiness of Judge Simonovic to conclude the trial as soon as possible.

A new hearing has been scheduled for 5 January 2011, and the minor remains detained until the conclusion of the procedure. Importantly, his family considers it safer for him to remain in detention until the pronouncement of the verdict, which speaks of the climate of fear and tension that the inhabitants of Jabuka continue to live in.

In the meantime, YUCOM contacted the High Court in Pancevo to establish whether the Presiding Judge  had undergone a training for trials of minors. An affirmative response arrived two weeks later. Nevertheless, we remain certain that, in view of the earlier defects, the presence of trial monitors would contribute to improving the quality of the trial, which is why YUCOM and the Regional Centre for Minorities submitted a new request for permission to be present at the trial.


Regional Centre for Minorities
Committee of Lawyers for Human Rights – YUCOM
Civil Rights Defenders