Street action on the occasion of the International Day Against Femicide

Stop killing women!

Republic Square
Tuesday, December 6, 2022, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m

Autonomous Women's Center, Women in Black and Dah Theater from Belgrade, with the support of the women's association Anima from Đulići, the Mothers' Movement of the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves from Sarajevo, the Bratunac Women's Association from Sarajevo, the Association of War Victims Foča 92-95 from Sarajevo, the Center for Women Victims of the war - Rosa, from Zagreb, the association Against Oblivion from Novska, the Peščanik Women's Association from Kruševac, the Nena Association - groups for peace and women's rights from Leskovac, the Women of Polimlje Association from Prijepolje, the Bona Fide Association from Pljevlja, gathered in the Women's Court movement - feminist approach to justice, are organizing a street action on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., in Republic Square, called "Stop the killing of women".

During 2020 and 2021, at least 106 women were killed in a family-partner relationship in the countries of the Western Balkans [1], almost half of them in Serbia (46), followed by Albania (21), Bosnia and Herzegovina (16), North Macedonia (10), Kosovo (9) and Montenegro (4). Every second woman was killed by her husband or partner in their shared house/apartment, while a quarter of women were killed in their own house/apartment that they did not share with the perpetrator. Women in the age group of 46 to 55 years are the most frequent victims of femicide, while among those killed, every fifth woman was under 30 years old, and every fifth woman was above 60 years old. In 61% of cases of murder of women, they occurred in cities, despite the availability of general support services provided by public institutions, as well as specialized support and assistance services provided by women's organizations.

In Serbia, 23 women and one girl were killed in 2022, which represents an increase in the number of women killed compared to 2021. Also, in 2022 the number of cases in which violence was reported before the murder occurred increased - in 7 out of 24 cases (in 2021 - in 5 out of 20, in 2020 - in 4 out of 26, in 2019 - in 9 out of 27 cases). In none of these cases was the personal responsibility of the professionals who, by their actions or inactions, prevented the lives of these women and children from being saved, questioned. The fact that even disciplinary proceedings before the High Council of the Judiciary, i.e. the State Council of Prosecutors, were not initiated against the judge [2] and the deputy prosecutor [3], who enabled the perpetrators to commit femicide, is of particular concern.

We believe that cases in which the institutions did not protect the lives of women and girls seriously undermine the trust of the victims, because the victims get the impression that the institutions will not protect them when they report violence, which unfortunately is still the experience of many women who testified about it on social networks under #NisamPrijavila (I didn't report). We are concerned about the large number of murdered women who never reported violence, even though newspaper articles indicated that the primary family and friends of the murdered woman had known for years that she was experiencing or had experienced violence.

Therefore, we call on the Ministry of Justice to introduce a provision in the proposals of the Law on Judges and the Law on Public Prosecution, according to which either the action or inaction of a judge/prosecutor that led to the death or serious injury of the victim or witness will be considered as a more serious disciplinary offense.

We ask the Government of Serbia to establish a national mechanism for monitoring and analyzing cases of femicide, which will consist of one representative of the National Assembly, relevant ministries, the Protector of Citizens and representatives of women's organizations that monitor cases of femicide, respectively, as permanent members and managers of state institutions and authorities in whose territory femicide occurred, as ad hoc members, in order to identify omissions and draw conclusions that would help such omissions not to be repeated in the territory of that local self-government.

Let us remind you that trusting victims, constant monitoring, exchange of information and risk assessment by Coordination and Cooperation Groups, in accordance with the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence, can prevent murders of women. React and cooperate before it's too late!

Media contact person:
Vanja Macanović, Autonomous Women's Center

[1] 2021 Annual report on femicide in the Western Balkans region

[2] The case of the murder of a mother and two daughters in Sombor on December 29, 2021 after the judge announced a prison sentence of 2 years and 8 months, and then released the perpetrator from custody to do what he said he was going to do years ago, which was all stated and documented in the indictment filed by the prosecution.

[3] The case of the murder of a girl in Vršac on October 4, 2022. after the acting deputy prosecutor did not inform either the SWC or the Group for Coordination and Cooperation about the findings of the psychiatric expert, who stated that the perpetrator should be sentenced to mandatory psychiatric treatment, so that the case could be reconsidered at the Group meeting and a new Victim Protection and Support Plan created – for mothers and underaged children.