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Serbia: Police threatens Women In Black - Belgrade

Friday 22 July 2016, by siawi3


Balkan Insight

20 July 2016

Serbian Policeman ‘Inspired Threats’ to Peace Women

Threats against peace campaign group Women in Black increased after anti-terrorist police spokesperson Radomir Pocuca denounced them as anti-Serbian, activists told his trial.

Sasa Dragojlo
BIRN , Belgrade

[PHOTO]: Radomir Pocuca, Serbia’s former anti-terrorist police spokesperson. (Photo: Facebook)

Three activists from peace campaign group Women in Black testified at a Belgrade court on Tuesday that the organisation received an increased number of threats after being denounced as anti-Serbian by Radomir Pocuca on March 28, 2014.

Pocuca posted a statement on Facebook calling for football hooligans to unite and fight Women in Black after they staged a commemoration in Belgrade marking the 15th anniversary of war crimes committed by Serbian forces against Kosovo Albanians <> .

Women in Black activist Violeta Djikanovic told the court that since the organisation was founded in 1993, it had been subjected to various attacks, but she never felt so much fear as she did after Pocuca’s Facebook post.

“This call for a lynching caused an avalanche of threats, on Facebook and via e-mail,” Djikanovic said, adding that this was the first time that the police had to come to secure the group’s office.

Stasa Zajovic, the director of Women in Black, told BIRN that Pocuca’s threats were particularly serious because they came from a civil servant at an institution in charge of law enforcement and the prevention of violence.

“The state is showing that it does not have the intention of protecting human rights activists, because it clearly diminishes the work of such organisations,” Zajovic said.

She also said that people who had come to show support for Pocuca at his trial later appeared at Women in Black meetings, which made them feel threatened.

Pocuca is charged with endangering the safety of Women in Black over his statement on Facebook calling on football hooligans to target the peace group.

“Instead of fighting each other, you should unite and fight the one that really deserves it,” Pocuca wrote.

“Women in Black are only active when there is a need to ‘spit’ on Serbs, pointing out alleged and unproven crimes by the Serbian army, police and volunteers,” he added.

Pocuca was sacked from his job as anti-terrorist police spokesperson after his inflammatory comments.

But although he was facing trial for threatening Women in Black, his passport was not confiscated, so he left Serbia and travelled to eastern Ukraine to join up with Russian-backed rebels fighting against the Kiev government.

He was arrested in Serbia at the end of March this year after returning from Ukraine.

He was then bailed, but his passport was confiscated.

His trial will continue on October 6.