Tomislav Stojković unworthy of his role as Constitutional Court judge of the Republic of Serbia

On February 11th, 2011, the Humanitarian Law Center commenced an initiative calling for the dismissal of Tomislav Stojković, a Constitutional Court judge of the Republic of Serbia, on the grounds of his suspected involvement in the kidnapping of lawyer Teki Bokshi, a Kosovo Albanian.  In the document submitted to Boris Tadić, then acting President of Serbia, Snežana Malović, then acting Minister of Justice, Ivica Dačić, Minister of Internal Affairs and the Supreme Court of Cassation, the HLC requested that judge Stojković be removed from duty, and the extent of his criminal responsibility fully determined.

Teki Bokshi, a lawyer from Đakovice/Gjakovë, was kidnapped on December 3rd, 1999, while traveling from Sremska Mitrovica to Belgrade.  He was held in the bathroom of a Belgrade studio apartment for thirteen days.  Once freed, he was able to determine the exact location and address of the apartment building in which he had been imprisoned.  He was released after his wife handed over a sum of DM100,000 to Tomislav Stojković at Merdare, a border crossing between Serbia and Kosovo.  At the time, Stojković, a Kosovo Serb, was a lawyer based in Belgrade.


On Friday, December 3rd, 1999[1], Teki Bokshi and his colleagues, HLC lawyers Mustafa Radoniqi and Ibish Hoti, were driving back from the prison in Sremska Mitrovica, where they had been visiting Kosovo Albanian detainees.  On their way to Belgrade, their vehicle was was overtaken and intercepted by a vehicle with police license plates.  Inside were three males.  Two of them came out and showed their police credentials and badges.  They pulled Teki Bokshi aside and ordered him to come with them, but not before taking Mr. Hoti’s cell phone and Mr. Radoniqi’s car keys.  With Bokshi in their car, they sped away towards Belgrade.  Instead of taking Mr. Bokshi to a police station, they drove to a residential building in Novi Beograd (a Belgrade neighborhood)[2].  The kidnappers took Mr. Bokshi’s money and two pairs of spectacles he had with him, one for reading, the other for distance.  Then they handcuffed him.  Several hours after being taken to the apartment, a man whom the kidnappers addressed as chief showed up (the actual word used was “načelnik”, a term describing an official heading an organisation).  He told Mr. Bokshi: “Mr. Bokshi, we know everything there is to know about you.  We know who you are, what you are, and where you are from.  We know that you defend terrorists in court, that you are a separatist, that you are close to the KLA, that you are a part of that structure, and that you are a person of authority and influence in Kosovo.[3]”  He told him that he was worth at least DM 500,000, that the KLA was sure to pay up, and that if they didn’t get the money by the next day, they would kill him and throw him in the river Sava.


Mr. Bokshi was held in a bathroom throughout his imprisonment.  He was denied any food, and was given just a single blanket.  He was often left tied to a radiator for extended periods.


In the days that followed, Mr. Bokshi was forced to call Serbs refugees who had fled Đakovice/Gjakovë, whom he didn’t know all that well and ask them to contact his family about the ransom money[4].  He was also told to call Nataša Kandić, the HLC’s executive director, but when he got her on the phone, the kidnappers hung up.  He was then allowed to call his wife, who informed him that she had already been contacted about the ransom by a certain Toma, a lawyer from Prishtina.  She was referring to Tomislav Stojković.  Toma is a common abbreviation for Tomislav.  Since Mr. Bokshi did not know who that person was, she told him that Toma had claimed to know him very well, and that they had, at some point in the past, represented opposing parties in a trial.  Three days later, on December 16, 1999, Mr. Bokshi had another phone conversation with his wife.  She informed him that she had handed over DM100,000 to Tomislav Stojković, and that he had given her assurances that he would be released.[5]


Once the ransom money had been handed over, Mr. Bokshi was freed.  In the early hours of December 17th,1999, the kidnappers released him in front of the Belgrade Hotel, where they had reserved a room for him.  They instructed him to wait there until morning, when someone would pick him up and drive him to Kosovo.  Bokshi went to the offices of the HLC on the following morning, without waiting for anyone to pick him up, contrary to the instructions he had received from his kidnappers.  Tomislav Stojković arrived at the offices of the HLC around 10 a.m. to transfer Mr. Bokshi to the border with Kosovo.  Mr. Bokshi refused his offer.  As he was leaving the HLC’s premises, Tomislav Stojković told Mr. Bokshi: “Do not worry about the money.  There are many of those people from Đakovice/Gjakovë in that prison, so you should just send them to me and I will take DM 2,000 from each one.  There are 150 of them, I’ll give you half of the money, and everything will be fine.”[6]


On December 18th, 1999, Teki Bokshi filed criminal charges against five unidentified kidnappers and Tomislav Stojković at a local police station (located at 29th November  Street).  There, he spoke with inspectors Goran Stupar and Jadranko Petrić.


Teki Bokshi and the HLC contacted the police several times in order to inquire about the progress of the investigation.  In April of this year, Teki Bokshi was invited to the Office of the Organized Crime Prosecutor, where he met with Prosecutor Mirko Radosavljević.


This is what Mr. Bokshi had to say about his conversation with prosecutor Radosavljević: “I handed him a CD which contained a recording of a conversation between my wife and Tomislav Stojković.  They were negotiating the ransom for my release.  He told me to contact the local police in Kosovo and try to obtain UNMIK police documents from them.  I was unable to do so, as nobody seemed to know where the archives were being kept.”


In its submission to Serbia’s state institutions, the HLC demanded an investigation into all the allegations contained in Teki Bokshi’s statement and the charges he filed against Tomislav Stojković and the five unidentified kidnappers.  The HLC also demanded that judge Tomislav Stojković immediately be stripped of his immunity and suspended from duty (according to Article 173, line 2 of Serbia’s constitution), that the extent of his criminal responsibility be determined, along with his eligibility for continued performance of judicial functions at the Constitutional Court, according to Article 15 of the Constitutional Court Law (Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia No. 109/2007, regarding other relevant provisions of Serbia’s constitution and Constitutional Court Law).


Soon after the HLC’s initiative was submitted, the HLC was contacted by the President of the Supreme Court of Cassation, Nata Mesarović and the Minister of Justice Snežana Malović.  They asked the HLC not to go public with the initiative, and gave their assurances that the appropriate state institutions would act on it with the utmost urgency.  Those institutions remain silent on the matter.


[1] “Prisoners in Sremska Mitrovica were allowed visits from their lawyers on the first Friday of each month.  It was obvious the kidnappers knew which roads we would take” – Teki Bokshi’s statement, given to the HLC on 9/1/2010.

[2] Teki Bokshi was held in a studio apartment in Novi Beograd for thirteen days.  The apartment is located at 158 Gandijeva Street, the first entrance from the left, ground floor.  The last name engraved on the apartment door was “Ušćumlić”.

[3] Teki Bokshi’s statement, given to the HLC on 9 January, 1,2010

[4] The first person he was forced to call was Olga Janjićijević, a lawyer from Đakovica/Gjakovë he knew and sometimes traveled with during his trips to and from Sremska Mitrovica.  The second person was Đokica Stanojević, a former president of Đakovica/Gjakovë District Assembly. Taken from Teki Bokshi’s statement, given to the HLC on September 9th, 2010.

[5] The handover of money to Tomislav Stojković was overseen by members of the UNMIK police and KFOR, who escorted Mr. Bokshi’s spouse from Prishtina to Merdare.

[6] Teki Bokshi’s statement, given to the HLC on September 9th, 2010