Omissions found related to 12 cases of murders of women

The ombudsman has found omissions in the work of competent bodies and services in as many as 12 of 14 murder cases where victims were women.

Source: B92
The crime scene in Zitiste (Tanjug, file)
The crime scene in Zitiste (Tanjug, file)

Among them is the recent mass shooting in Zitiste, Sasa Jankovic announced on Thursday.

The omissions in question were detected in the institutions' work that preceded the murders.

Jankovic said that in those cases, the police, social welfare centers and medical institutions had knowledge that violence had been perpetrated against women, but acted either in an untimely manner, or not at all, in undertaking the measures prescribed by the law.

The ombudsman found that in some cases the police qualified this type of violence as "a family problem" or "a marital conflict" and did not investigate further; that measures were not implemented when violence was reported, or were implemented in inappropriate or untimely ways, while the victims were referred to conduct procedures themselves.

The report also states that the Ministry of Social Affairs violated the right of citizens to truthful information by stating after the tragedy in Zitiste that "the procedure at the Center for Social Welfare was conducted and completed according to the standards of professional procedures."

As the report stressed, the ministry failed to determine the obvious omissions in the organization of work of the guardianship authority, which influenced the derogation of expert procedures from regulations and standards - "so the statement that 'everything was done properly' was not true."

The ombudsman also found that the police, social work centers and health care institutions do not share information, some of which is vital in protecting the victims.

"This does not mean that anyone but the killers are to blame for somebody's death, but without these failures the likelihood of a lethal outcome would have been lower," he said, according to the N1 broadcaster.

In some cases, it was not checked whether the perpetrator of domestic violence had weapons, while weapons were not confiscated from all persons reported to the police.

In one case, the police failed to investigate allegations of police officers' illegal influence on a victim's family.

In addition, it was found that health facilities failed as well by not informing the police about observed and reported violence against women.

A statement from Jankovic's office said that the ombudsman on July 27 made 45 "systemic recommendations" to eliminate these omissions, based on the 12 cases, and sent them to the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Health, and the Provincial Secretariat for Social Policy, Demographics and Gender Equality.


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