11 February 2001 – The Belgrade Center for Human Rights harshly condemns the attack on Cucija Nikolić, 28, a Roma from Kovin, which took place on the night between the 2nd and 3rd of February. According to Friday’s newspaper reports, Marko Marković, Vladimir Krstin, Dejan Lukša, Žika aka Ubica (‘Killer’), and lawyer Zoran Koščal inflicted serious bodily injuries on Nikolić, because he was in a relationship with Koščal’s daughter. There are also indications that the police detective Zoran Despenić knew of the attackers’ intentions as, before they took Nikolić, the detective told him they only wanted to talk to him. However the police officer did nothing to prevent the attack on Nikolić. This attack on Cucija Nikolić confirms the prevalence of hatred and discrimination towards the Roma people in FRY. What is particularly worrying in this case is that the attack was organised by a lawyer from Kovin, whose duty it is to defend the law, not break it.
The Belgrade Center for Human Rights calls on the Bar Associatons in Serbia and Vojvodina to take the necessary measures against their member Zoran Koščal. Also, the Belgrade Center demands that the competent bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs take necessary action so that Nikolić’s attackers are punished.