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Suspects A.G., R.B., I.B., R.H., J.N., G.Đ., S.B., were accused for promising displaced Roma from Kosovo transport to Italy, asking them to pay for the transport. Number of victims has never been determined as coordinated rescue search has never been organized. The boat has never been pulled from the bottom of the sea, which of great importance as the evidence material, and large number of Roma were considered as disappeared. Until nowadays, there was no sentence for this crime.

Civic Alliance severely condemns systematic covering up of this case. Therefore, we invite primarily Delegation of the European Union to insist on comprehensive investigation of the case and punishing of all who obstructed the case, through accession negotiations. CA calls for the responsible and professional processing of the case, urgent first instance verdict and sentencing of the perpetrators. We also invite competent public bodies to investigate urgently who obstructed this case and to sanction responsible persons in accordance with the Law.

In chronological review of this case, we can see that through “legal spins” the state has obstructed the case from the very beginning, intending it to be forgotten and the responsible ones not to be punished. Namely, the proceeding started in Basic court in Bar, in August 1999. Investigation lasted for almost four years. The trial started in February 2003. After several years of trial, Deputy Prosecutor in Bar changed the legal qualification of the criminal act, and instead of “by negligence”, stated “it was committed with intent”. New investigation started afterwards. Case files arrived in Higher court in Podgorica in April 2004. Investigation lasted more than two years and after this, at the end of October 2006, Prosecutor presented indictment against persons accused for serious act committed against general security. At the main trial that took place in September 2009, judge postponed the trial for an indefinite time as the defense required translation of indictment on Roma language. Later, that judge continued his career at Appellate court of Montenegro and the case came to another judge. Soon, this judge from the Higher court was returned in Basic court in Podgorica. The case was on hold again. Newly elected judge of the Higher court became in charge for it then. The trial was postponed for the end of February 2011. The hearing started all over again and there was no sign that the first instance verdict would be rendered although tragedy happened 15 years ago.

Finally, this is the example of how “inefficient legal system” is severely abused, with the aim for this tragedy and responsibility for it, to be forgotten as the time passes. Can we find the causes of the tragedy among actors of the tragedy who are present in life in Montenegro because this is related to the highest officials of local self/governments, or because they are active in electoral processes or because someone believes that life of Roma is less worth than life of someone who is not Roma?

Zoran Vujičić
CA, Coordinator of rule of law program