Institutions should be punished for not reacting adequately

Press Release

Two women were murdered by close family members during the weekend in Serbia, and media headlines and articles are once again full of sensationalist photos and statements. Increasing sales of newspapers and profiteering on murders of women is just another link in the chain of abuse.

Alcohol abuse, a history of violent behavior, threats of violence and murder, violent behavior in the community, being a war veteran, ownership of firearms and access to firearms, two reports for domestic violence – all of this wasn’t enough for institutions to conduct a risk assessment and prevent M.I. (60) from murdering his wife R.I. (62) and their son D.J. (24). The Protocol for Police Officers1 identifies precisely most of the above mentioned points as representing increased risk to the victim in domestic violence cases. Serbia is a signatory to the Council of Europe’s Convention against violence against women and domestic violence2 which prescribes risk assessments and risk management by prosecutors and representatives of other relevant institutions.

Why are women continuously being told to report violence when in this case we see that even two reports have had no effect in producing a different result. How many more women must be murdered for Serbian institutions to begin implementing the law?

R.I. isn’t the only one who was murdered last weekend. In the other case, Lj. V. (51) was murdered by her son M.V. (33). How many more times do we have to see the same scenario play out? When will Serbian institutions start taking responsibility for their (inn)actions? We demand an investigation be conducted into what omissions were made so that we know what can be done to prevent other women being murdered. Irresponsible behavior must be punished!

For the Women against Violence Network
Aleksandra Nestorov and Vedrana Lacmanovic


1Special protocol on measures to be taken by police officers in cases of domestic violence and violence in partner relations. Available (in Serbian) at http://www.sigurnakuca.net/upload/documents/PlaviTekst.pdf (accessed on January 31st 2017)
2Available (in Serbian) at http://www.womenngo.org.rs/images/pdf/Convention_Serbian.pdf.pdf (accessed on January 31st 2017)