Friday, October 5, 2018

Feminicide across Europe: Serbia



 In Serbia, femicide as a form of gender-based homicide has not been yet recognized in official documents (such as the Criminal Code), nor in official communications concerning gender-based violence. The term "killing of women", which is in use includes intimate partner homicide, usually after a period of continuous violence. In the past year, femicide has been covered extensively by the media, in order to raise awareness on this problem.

1 Definition
The Women against Violence Network (http://www.zeneprotivnasilja.net/en/) is a coalition of specialized women’s NGOs, which provide individual support to women and work on changing the social context, with the aim of decreasing violence against women in Serbia. The Network has adopted the concept of femicide, which is defined as, "gender-based killings of women, girls and even females babies committed by males. In order for homicide be qualified as femicide, the gender of the victim must be relevant to the perpetrator. As such, femicide is a crime against women, motivated by hatred of women, contempt and a sense of superiority, in which the perpetrator thinks he has the right to take away the life of a woman."
2 Sources
Two bodies collect data on femicide in Serbia:

1) Since 2010, The Women against Violence Network (WAV Network) has collected and published announcements as well as quantitative narrative reports on femicide, including data on victims, perpetrators, their relationship, what preceded the murder, and the modus operandi of the murder (use of a weapon in killing, or where the woman was beaten to death, strangled, etc.), as well as the analysis of media reports on femicide. The latest published Quantitative-narrative report is for the year 2015 and the most recent Announcement is for the period from January 1 to July 31 2016.
During 2016 the WAV Network has began monitoring of femicide trials.
http://www.zeneprotivnasilja.net/en/femicide-in-serbia

2) Counseling Against Family Violence (CAFV) is an NGO, established on July 8, 1996 in Belgrade, with aim of helping women and children who are victims of domestic violence. CAFV has records of murdered women, with their photographs and basic information about the perpetrator, what preceded the murder and its modus operandi (use of a weapon in killing, or where the woman was beaten to death, strangled, etc.) for the period from 2011 to 2014 (available only in Serbian). http://www.sigurnakuca.net/nasilje_nad_zenama/femicid/femicid_price_o_ubijenim_zenama.318.h tml?page=0&year= 
After a case of mass murder in which primary victim was a woman killed by her former husband, the Ombudsman of Serbia (Protector of citizens) carried out an inspection of the legality and regularity of the work of 45 centers for social work (CSW), operating under the auspices the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Labor, Employment, and Social Issues, in Serbia. This inspection revealed shortcomings in the work of the official services and institutions in domestic violence cases which resulted in recommendations for the improvement of work within the Police, CSWs and health institutions, as well as recommendations for the improved implementation of ratified international documents. In particular, the control showed shortcomings in the reaction of official institutions in 11 of 14 gender-based murders of women, which could have been prevented, in that their response to registered intimate partner violence was inadequate. http://www.ombudsman.org.rs/
 (by Vesna Nikolic-Ristanovic and Ljiljana Stevkovic)

In order to fight feminicide/femicide, various Latin American and European countries have adopted increasingly specific laws and legal instruments that penalize feminicide. The ratification of the Belém do Pará Convention1 in Latin America and the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention2  in Europe, demonstrate an increasingly stronger international commitment against this kind of violence. The establishment of the Bi-regional Dialogue on Gender by the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as the adoption of the Urgent Resolution on Feminicide in the European Union and Latin America3 by the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) also express this commitment.    


However, legal norms, agreements, and international dialogues alone are not sufficient for the eradication of violence against women, nor its most extreme manifestation, feminicide.
 In Serbia, femicide as a form of gender-based homicide has not been yet recognized in official documents (such as the Criminal Code), nor in official communications concerning gender-based violence. The term "killing of women", which is in use includes intimate partner homicide, usually after a period of continuous violence. In the past year, femicide has been covered extensively by the media, in order to raise awareness on this problem.

1 Definition
The Women against Violence Network (http://www.zeneprotivnasilja.net/en/) is a coalition of specialized women’s NGOs, which provide individual support to women and work on changing the social context, with the aim of decreasing violence against women in Serbia. The Network has adopted the concept of femicide, which is defined as, "gender-based killings of women, girls and even females babies committed by males. In order for homicide be qualified as femicide, the gender of the victim must be relevant to the perpetrator. As such, femicide is a crime against women, motivated by hatred of women, contempt and a sense of superiority, in which the perpetrator thinks he has the right to take away the life of a woman."
2 Sources
Two bodies collect data on femicide in Serbia:

1) Since 2010, The Women against Violence Network (WAV Network) has collected and published announcements as well as quantitative narrative reports on femicide, including data on victims, perpetrators, their relationship, what preceded the murder, and the modus operandi of the murder (use of a weapon in killing, or where the woman was beaten to death, strangled, etc.), as well as the analysis of media reports on femicide. The latest published Quantitative-narrative report is for the year 2015 and the most recent Announcement is for the period from January 1 to July 31 2016.
During 2016 the WAV Network has began monitoring of femicide trials.
http://www.zeneprotivnasilja.net/en/femicide-in-serbia

2) Counseling Against Family Violence (CAFV) is an NGO, established on July 8, 1996 in Belgrade, with aim of helping women and children who are victims of domestic violence. CAFV has records of murdered women, with their photographs and basic information about the perpetrator, what preceded the murder and its modus operandi (use of a weapon in killing, or where the woman was beaten to death, strangled, etc.) for the period from 2011 to 2014 (available only in Serbian). http://www.sigurnakuca.net/nasilje_nad_zenama/femicid/femicid_price_o_ubijenim_zenama.318.h tml?page=0&year= 
After a case of mass murder in which primary victim was a woman killed by her former husband, the Ombudsman of Serbia (Protector of citizens) carried out an inspection of the legality and regularity of the work of 45 centers for social work (CSW), operating under the auspices the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Labor, Employment, and Social Issues, in Serbia. This inspection revealed shortcomings in the work of the official services and institutions in domestic violence cases which resulted in recommendations for the improvement of work within the Police, CSWs and health institutions, as well as recommendations for the improved implementation of ratified international documents. In particular, the control showed shortcomings in the reaction of official institutions in 11 of 14 gender-based murders of women, which could have been prevented, in that their response to registered intimate partner violence was inadequate. http://www.ombudsman.org.rs/
 (by Vesna Nikolic-Ristanovic and Ljiljana Stevkovic)

In order to fight feminicide/femicide, various Latin American and European countries have adopted increasingly specific laws and legal instruments that penalize feminicide. The ratification of the Belém do Pará Convention1 in Latin America and the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention2  in Europe, demonstrate an increasingly stronger international commitment against this kind of violence. The establishment of the Bi-regional Dialogue on Gender by the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as the adoption of the Urgent Resolution on Feminicide in the European Union and Latin America3 by the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) also express this commitment.    


However, legal norms, agreements, and international dialogues alone are not sufficient for the eradication of violence against women, nor its most extreme manifestation, feminicide.


Traditionally, States were only responsible for their own actions or those of their agents, but international public law has evolved and currently, the principle of due diligence makes the State responsible for the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of violence, regardless of who commits the crime. The duty of due diligence obliges States to enter the private sphere, where historically, they have not intervened, but where the majority of cases of violence against women occur. 



Therefore, it is the duty of the State to take all necessary measures to prevent human rights violations, such as feminicide, before they occur. This means, on the one hand, adopting pertinent laws and policies to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish those guilty of abuse, and on the other hand, successfully implement them. 

Patricia Jiménez, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung – European Union, Brussels


Traditionally, States were only responsible for their own actions or those of their agents, but international public law has evolved and currently, the principle of due diligence makes the State responsible for the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of violence, regardless of who commits the crime. The duty of due diligence obliges States to enter the private sphere, where historically, they have not intervened, but where the majority of cases of violence against women occur. 



Therefore, it is the duty of the State to take all necessary measures to prevent human rights violations, such as feminicide, before they occur. This means, on the one hand, adopting pertinent laws and policies to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish those guilty of abuse, and on the other hand, successfully implement them. 


Patricia Jiménez, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung – European Union, Brussels


https://eu.boell.org/sites/default/files/feminicide_eng.pdf
https://twitter.com/kristiprogri/status/591938248219426816
https://www.um.edu.mt/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/308017/March_9_Country_resources.pdf

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