Torture in  [Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

Serbia, Montenegro & Kosovo

In the early years of the 21st Century  -  2000 to 2020

Republic of Serbia

Milosevic-era mismanagement of the economy, an extended period of international economic sanctions, and the damage to Yugoslavia's infrastructure and industry during the NATO airstrikes in 1999 left the economy only half the size it was in 1990.

Belgrade has made progress in trade liberalization and enterprise restructuring and privatization, including telecommunications and small- and medium-size firms. It has made halting progress towards EU membership despite signing a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Brussels in May 2008. Serbia is also pursuing membership in the World Trade Organization. Unemployment and the large current account deficit remain ongoing political and economic problems.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Serbia


Republic of Montenegro

The dissolution of the loose political union between Serbia and Montenegro in 2006 led to separate membership in several international financial institutions, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Unemployment and regional disparities in development are key political and economic problems. Montenegro has privatized its large aluminum complex - the dominant industry - as well as most of its financial sector, and has begun to attract foreign direct investment in the tourism sector. The global financial crisis is likely to have a significant negative impact on the economy.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Montenegro


Republic of Kosovo

Kosovo's citizens are the poorest in Europe with an average annual per capita income of only $2,300. Unemployment, around 40% of the population, is a significant problem that encourages outward migration and black market activity. Most of Kosovo's population lives in rural towns outside of the capital, Pristina. Inefficient, near-subsistence farming is common - the result of small plots, limited mechanization, and lack of technical expertise.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Kosovo


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Serbs in Montenegro suffer torture and discrimination

Source: Beta, 25 August 2018

[accessed 26 August 2018]

"I fear it is a deliberate project, a possible organized political action against the Serbian people. Serbian citizens are suffering ill-treatment by the Montenegrin judiciary, they are being arbitrarily detained, some have been imprisoned for years, others have a ban on leaving Montenegro", Dacic said.

"Discrimination against Serbs from Montenegro is another story completely. They are trying to deny them all sorts of rights, from employment to banning the use of the Serbian language in schools. The Serbian Orthodox Church is attacked and Serbian political leaders are persecuted", assessed Dacic, according to NOVA.

Serbs say Kosovo police tortured them while in detention

Beta, Tanjug, Radio KiM, PRIŠTINA

[accessed 26 Jan 2014]

"What happened to me, and what we have gone through in the court in Priština is horrible. They were beating us for no reason - what would have happened if we actually did something wrong?," Vlasaj said as he spoke with reporters ahead of his surgery.

The victim sustained serious injuries to his perineum.

"They beat me when I was in the toilet, saying they were doing it so that I would never be able to have children. They handcuffed me, spread my legs, and mercilessly hit me. There were two of them. They forced me to splash water on my face to refresh myself and warned me that I must not tell anyone I was beaten," Vlasaj described his ordeal, and added:

"When I reached my friends I managed to tell them not to think about going to the toilet because they would receive the same treatment there as I had."

Urology Ward chief Dejan Denović told journalists that the patient's injuries were inflicted when he was kicked, and that his urethra was injured.

"The patient had trouble urinating, and there was blood in his urine. For that reason he had to be hospitalized, because these are serious injuries which have long-term consequences," the doctor stated.

It was reported late on Wednesday that Vlasaj had in the meantime been transported to Belgrade due to the severity of the injuries to his abdomen.

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013

[accessed 3 March 2014]


EULEX recruited two additional prosecutors for the investigation and prosecution of war crimes. The 2011 Law on Witness Protection, which entered into force in September, was not implemented before the end of the year.

In May, the former Minister of Transport and KLA leader Fatmir Limaj and three others were acquitted of war crimes at Klečka/Kleçkë prison camp in 1999, including ordering the torture and killing of Kosovo Serb and Albanian civilians. Six other defendants were acquitted in March. In November, after the Supreme Court overturned the May verdict, ordering a retrial, EULEX arrested Fatmir Limaj and three other defendants. The Prime Minister immediately challenged EULEX’s right to arrest them, but they remained in detention pending trial at the end of the year.


The Special Investigative Task Force established by the EU continued to investigate allegations that the KLA had abducted Serbs and subsequently transferred them to Albania, where they were tortured, murdered and some allegedly had their organs removed for trafficking.

In December the Human Rights Advisory Panel (HRAP), established to decide on alleged human rights violations by the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), considered three complaints, in which they decided that UNMIK had violated the right to life of Kosovo Serbs abducted following the 1999 armed conflict, by failing to conduct an effective investigation.

By September, the Department of Forensic Medicine had exhumed the remains of 20 individuals; 51bodies, (including 33 ethnic Albanians and 18 Kosovo Serbs), identified by DNA analysis, were returned to their families for burial. Exhumations concluded at Zhilivoda/Žilivoda mine, thought to contain remains of 25 Kosovo Serbs; however no bodies were found.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture [Serbia]

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/SRB/CO/1 (2009)

[accessed 5 March 2013]

Fundamental safeguards

6. The Committee notes that the Law on the Execution of Penal Sanctions provides for internal control by respective departments of the Ministry of Justice, that the Police Act passed in 2005 foresees the establishment of the Internal Control Sector and that internal control units have been established in all regional police centres.  However, the Committee remains concerned at the lack of an independent and external oversight mechanism for alleged unlawful acts committed by the police.  The Committee is also concerned that, in practice, the police do not respect the right of a detainee to access a lawyer of his or her own choice and to access an examination by an independent doctor within 24 hours of detention and the right to contact his or her family.  The Committee is also concerned at the absence of adequate protocols for the medical profession on how to report on findings of torture and other cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in a systematic and independent manner (art. 2).

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 11 February 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however, police at times beat detainees and harassed persons, usually during arrest or initial detention for petty crimes.

The Belgrade-based Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) reported that, on February 16, police hit a 17-year-old girl in the stomach at a downtown Belgrade police station and handcuffed her to a radiator for several hours while detaining her for suspected theft. Authorities had not taken action on the report at year's end.

There was no information on whether any further action was taken during the year in the following cases of alleged police misconduct: the prosecution, reported pending in 2004, of police officers Zoran Gogic and Dragan Bojanic for beating a man in Zrenjanin while on duty in January 2004 and the prosecution, reported pending in 2004, of three police officers for beating a man while in detention in 2003. A judge dismissed the private prosecution by the HLC, reported pending before an investigative judge in 2004, of officers in the Cacak police department for allegedly hitting and threatening a man in 2003 to force him to confess to a robbery.

Freedom House Country Report - Serbia - Political Rights: 3   Civil Liberties: 2   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 11 February 2013]

Legal and judicial reform has been slow in recent years because of the complicated political situation. The EU’s 2008 progress report on Serbia noted that the quality and professionalism of judges is relatively high, and that pay for judges has improved, but it cited concerns over the investigative capacity of the prosecutorial service and political influence in the selection of judges. The judicial system suffers from a large backlog of cases, long delays in filing formal charges against suspects, and the failure of legislative institutions to heed judicial rulings. Prisons are generally considered to meet international standards, although overcrowding, drug abuse, and violence among inmates remain serious problems.

Freedom House Country Report - Montenegro - Political Rights: 3   Civil Liberties: 3   Status: Partly Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 11 February 2013]

The judicial system lacks independence from political authorities, and judicial corruption remains a significant problem. A 2008 EU progress report questioned the way in which the professional capacity and integrity of judges is determined. While officials have made some progress in reducing a large backlog in cases, there are still a large number pending, and trials generally take excessive amounts of time to complete. Despite efforts to improve prison conditions, most facilities are antiquated, overcrowded, and often unhygienic.

Freedom House Country Report - Kosovo - Political Rights: 6   Civil Liberties: 5   Status: Not Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 11 February 2013]

Kosovo’s newly-adopted constitution calls for an independent judiciary, though courts at all levels are subject to political influence and intimidation. In January 2008, Amnesty International reported that UNMIK had failed to created a criminal justice system willing and able to prosecute war criminals. The trial of former prime minister Ramush Haradinaj began in March 2007, but ICTY officials complained that he and his supporters were intimidating potential prosecution witnesses. Several witnesses in the Haradinaj case died under unclear circumstances. He was acquitted by the tribunal in April 2008. Ethnic Albanian judges rarely prosecute cases involving Albanian attacks on non-Albanians. The backlog in the civil court system stands at tens of thousands of cases. The backlog in property claims, mainly those of Serbs, stood at approximately 21,000 by the end of 2008. Prison conditions in Kosovo are generally in line with international standards, though overcrowding remains a problem, and abuse of prisoners has been reported. The breakdown in the judicial system has resulted in the reemergence of familial blood feuds in some areas.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Serbia-Montenegro-Kosovo",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo]  [other countries]