HLC PRESS - 11.11.2004. - COMPENSATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION IN POLICE OPERATION SABER
- HLCIndexout: 0201- 1345-3
COMPENSATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION IN POLICE OPERATION SABERBelgrade's First Municipal Court has ordered Serbia to pay 400,000 dinars to Dejan Arandjeloviæ in compensation for the violation of his human rights. During Operation Saber launched by the police in the wake of the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjiæ in 2003, Arandjeloviæ's photograph and particulars appeared on a wanted poster issued for the bosses and members of the "Zemun gang" suspected of slaying Djindjiæ. The Court also ordered the Ministry of Internal Affairs to pay for the publication of its judgment in two daily newspapers and a weekly magazine.
On 10 April 2003, police surrounded the house of Dejan Arandjeloviæ and searched it. Since he was not at home at the time, a police officer phoned him and told him to report immediately to the Belgrade Police Department. Arandjeloviæ arrived at the Police Department between noon and 1 p.m. He was immediately handcuffed to a bench in the corridor, where he spent the next six hours before being driven to a police facility on the outskirts of Belgrade. When they established that this was a case of mistaken identity since the wanted man was one Dejan Randjeloviæ, the police let Arandjeloviæ go at about 9 p.m.
The next day, 11 April, Arandjeloviæ was stopped by a police patrol. One of the officers checked by radio if he was wanted and upon receiving confirmation, they took him to the Novi police station. His attempts to explain the mistake were ignored. Arandjeloviæ was held for two hours and then allowed to go.
Over the next few days, almost all TV stations showed the wanted posted featuring the photographs and particulars of the suspected assassins. Arandjeloviæ's was still among them and, as a result, some of his friends began to shun him. The Court established that his photograph appeared in the May issue of the police monthly magazine and other papers even though the search for him was called off after April 11.
On 15 April 2003, Arandjeloviæ's mother wrote to the Ministry of Internal Affairs categorically denying any connection between her son and the "Zemun gang" and insisting that the Ministry issue an official denial to this effect. There has been no response from the Ministry to this day, a fact which was noted by the Court. In finding that Arandjeloviæ's rights had been violated, the Court cited rights embodied in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, including freedom of movement, respect for privacy and the home. Arandjeloviæ was represented in Court by HLC attorneys.