Ethnic Albanian family wins case against Serbia
A Belgrade court has ordered damages to be paid to the family of Behram Gigolaj, killed in 1999.Source: Tanjug
Belgrade’s First Municipal Court ordered the state to pay damages of EUR 37,500 to the wife and children of Gigolaj, an ethnic Albanian beaten to death in Mataruška Banja on March 24, 1999 by unidentified assailants, the Humanitarian Law Center stated on Monday.
The NGO, in its support program for the victims of human rights abuses, had filed a lawsuit against the Republic of Serbia for the wrongful death of Gigolaj. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of his family.
Gigolaj moved from Kosovo to Matruška Banja, in central Serbia, in 1998, where he opened a bakery.
A group of five or six unidentified young men broke into the bakery on the night when NATO attacks against Serbia started, kicking and hitting the victim and his son with their fists, before using a blunt end of an axe to assault him.
Gigolaj succumbed to his injuries on March 28, 1999.
According to the information of the Humanitarian Law Fund, Gigolaj and his son were attacked at a time when the police already had information about violence against businesses owned by ethnic Albanians.
However, the NGO says that the police did not intervene to protect them, even though their legal obligation was to serve and protect all Serbian citizens, regardless of their nationality, the statement says.
According to the Humanitarian Law Center, before the war in Kosovo, members of the Kraljevo police had protected buildings and stores owned by the ethnic Albanians, during demonstrations or other events that were considered to be high risk in nature.