Compensation Lawsuit for Torture: Elmaz Hukić Case
On 8 April 2009, a Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) attorney filed a compensation lawsuit on behalf of Elmaz Hukić from the village of Ugao [Sjenica municipality] against the Republic of Serbia for its responsibility in the torture of Elmaz Hukić by members of the Serbian Ministry of Interior in 1993. The procedure was initiated as part of the HLC support programme for the victims of past human rights violations.
In December 1993, members of the Sjenica police department, Dragan Paunović and Milan Nedić, arrived at Elmaz Hukić’s house in the village of Ugao and told him that he had to turn in a pistol he allegedly possessed. When Elmaz said that he had never had any weapons, police officers apprehended him and took him to the police station in the Karajukića bunari local community. He was taken to the big hall of the local community centre where he found his neighbours, Šefket Bibić and Sabit Bibić who had visible signs of having been beaten. Police officers told Elmaz to think again before they started interrogating him again. After a certain period of time, they took him out of the hall and told him to write a list of people from the village that possessed weapons. Then they took him into an office where Milan Nedić was. As soon as they entered the office, Milan Nedić started beating him. He kicked him in the stomach demanding that he admit that he possessed weapons. The beating lasted for approximately half an hour after which he was taken back to the big hall. They told him once again to think some more about the weapons and that they were going to come and get him. Half an hour later, police officers ordered him to leave the room because he told them that he had nothing to confess. He spent several hours out in the cold. After this, they told him he was free to go. Elmaz still suffers serious physical and psychological consequences of the torture suffered.
At the time of the armed conflict in BiH, members of the Serbian Ministry of Interior constantly searched Bosniak houses on the territory of Sandžak under suspicion that they possessed illegal weapons. They would usually conduct searches, then arrest Bosniaks even though they did not find any weapons. Most of them were exposed to serious physical and psychological torture in order to extort confessions about the possession of illegal weapons or participation in activities against the state. Even though these cases had been reported to the police, for most of them, a serious investigation or disciplinary procedure has never been carried out. Furthermore, most of the police officers who, according to HLC information, participated in the beating of Bosniaks from Sandžak are still working in the Serbian Ministry of Interior.
HLC calls upon the Serbian state authorities to adopt a plan for reparations for victims of past human rights violations. The UN General Assembly adopted the Resolution (Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law) at the session held on 16 December 2005, thus calling for member states to provide reparations to victims for actions or omissions that could be attributed to the state and which represent gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law.
Point of Contact:
Sandra Orlović, Project Coordinator
Phone: +381 11 3444-313