MINELRES: ERRC: NGOs Urge Macedonian Authorities to Investigate Death of Romani Youth

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sun Jun 18 10:34:46 2006


riginal sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>


Romani Youth Last Seen Alive While Being Chased by Police

16 June 2006, Budapest, Skopje. The European Roma Rights Centre 
(ERRC) and the National Roma Centrum (NRC) sent a letter to Dr. Vlado 
Buckovski, Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia expressing 
grave concern about the recent death of a Romani youth named Trajan 
Bekirov, and urging that Macedonian authorities to carry out a 
prompt, thorough and effective investigation. Copies of the letter 
were also sent to Ms. Meri Mladenovska Gjorgjievska, Minister of 
Justice, Mr. Ljubomir Mihajlovski, Minister of Interior, and Mr. 
Aleksandar Prcevski, Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Macedonia.

Seventeen-year-old Trajan Bekirov was last seen alive after 
Macedonian police "Alfi" units chased him and his friend, Orhan 
Isemi, on 11 May 2006. His body was discovered on 28 May 2006 in the 
river Vardar near the village of Tubarevo. The Institute for Judicial 
Medicine carried out an autopsy, the result of which is still 
unknown. A criminal investigation is reportedly open, but as of the 
date of this letter, no results have been made public. Media articles 
in Macedonia have featured sensational allegations, such as the 
contention that Trajan Bekirov's organs may have been stolen. Trajan 
Bekirov's parents believe the initial police chase was influenced by 
racial considerations. They also allege an anti-Romani bias among 
Macedonian authorities.

The ERRC/NRC letter urges the respective authorities to undertake any 
and all measures available to ensure a swift, full, thorough and 
effective investigation into the death of Trajan Bekirov, and that 
any and all perpetrators involved in illegal actions in connection 
with his death be swiftly brought to justice. The organisations urge 
further that authorities investigate the possibility of racial motive 
or animus in the circumstances leading to and/or surrounding Trajan 
Bekirov's death, in addition to seeking to determine whether other 
forms of wrongdoing have taken place. The results of the 
investigation, including that of the autopsy, should be transparent, 
and set to rest any and all open questions surrounding these events.

The full text of the ERRC/NRC letter is available here:

Honourable Prime Minister Buckovski,

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is a Budapest-based 
international public interest law organization aimed at combating 
anti-Romani racisms and human rights abuse of Roma. The National Roma 
Centrum (NRC) is a professional non-governmental organization located 
in Kumanovo, Macedonia, with the aim of representing and stimulating 
the active participation and integration of Romani people on the 
principles of the modern multiethnic European society. The ERRC and 
NRC are writing to express grave concern about the recent death of a 
Romani youth named Trajan Bekirov, and to urge that Macedonian 
authorities carry out a prompt, thorough and effective investigation.

Seventeen-year-old Trajan Bekirov was last seen alive after 
Macedonian police "Alfi" units chased him and his friend, Orhan 
Isemi, on 11 May 2006. His body was discovered on 28 May 2006 in the 
Vardar river near the village of Tubarevo. The Institute for Judicial 
Medicine carried out an autopsy, the result of which is still 
unknown. A criminal investigation is reportedly open, but as of the 
date of this letter, no results have been made public. Media articles 
in Macedonia have featured sensational allegations, such as the 
contention that Trajan Bekirov's organs may have been stolen.

Honourable Prime Minister Buckovski,

The European Court of Human Right's case law and other international 
legal standards require a prompt and effective official investigation 
where there are potential violations of the European Convention on 
Human Rights. Further positive obligations arise where there is a 
possibility that racial animus may have influenced events, 
implicating the Convention's ban on discrimination.

States Parties to the Convention including Macedonia - have a 
positive obligation to immediately investigate alleged violations of 
the European Convention. Such an obligation also arises by 
implication under Article 1, where the State must secure the "rights 
and freedoms of the Convention". In Nachova v. Bulgaria, a case 
decided recently, the Court held that the Bulgarian authorities had 
violated the obligation under Article 2 by failing to investigate the 
deaths of two Roma men. Furthermore, in Assenov v. Bulgaria, the 
Court reiterated the principles of effectiveness of an investigation, 
that is there must be an official "investigation leading to 
identification and punishment of those responsible". In the present 
case, a youth of Romani origin died in suspicious circumstances after 
a police chase. Since his life has ended and his family alleged 
possible police abuse before his death, it is imperative that the 
responsible authorities commence and carry out a prompt, thorough and 
effective investigation.

Several international standards emphasize the necessity of conducting 
an investigation to give meaning to the articles of the Convention. 
For example, the UN Convention against Torture (CAT) sets out that 
States are required to provide any individual who alleges that he has 
been subjected to torture the right to complain to the authorities. 
Such a person also has the right to have his case promptly and 
impartially examined. Furthermore, the European Committee for the 
Prevention of Torture has stated that where a country refuses to 
investigate allegations of torture, that country undermines "the very 
foundation of a democratic society". Thus, such an investigation is 
needed to protect the rights guaranteed under the Convention.

The obligation to investigate is even more pressing where potential 
Convention violations may have a racial motivation. Under Article 14 
of the Convention, everyone's rights must be protected from 
discrimination on the basis of race and other grounds. Trajan 
Bekirov's parents believe the initial police chase was influenced by 
racial considerations. They also allege an anti-Romani bias among 
Macedonian authorities. Thus, a thorough investigation should begin 
at once, to allay any suspicion of racial bias, and to avoid the 
manifestation of an Article 14 violation.

In addition, the matter of police abuse and impunity has long been a 
particular concern for the Romani community in Macedonia. 
Organizations such as Human Rights Watch have documented the growing 
and unresolved problem of police violence. In a 2003 report, Human 
Rights Watch noted that police in Macedonia "continue to perpetuate 
racially motivated abuses against the Roma with impunity". In a 
report released in September 2004 on Macedonia, the European 
Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment (CPT) stated that "the inaction of judges, 
public prosecutors and investigating police officers has fostered a 
climate in which law enforcement officials minded to ill-treat 
persons have come to believe with very good reasons that they can do 
so with impunity". The European Commission Against Racism and 
Intolerance (ECRI) of the Council of Europe has further observed 
that, in Macedonia, "Issues of discrimination and intolerance are not 
adequately recognised and confronted".

Honourable Prime Minister Buckovski,

We urge you to undertake any and all measures within the powers 
available to your office to ensure a swift, full, thorough and 
effective investigation into the death of Trajan Bekirov, and that 
any and all perpetrators involved in illegal actions in connection 
with his death be swiftly brought to justice. We urge further that 
authorities investigate the possibility of racial motive or animus in 
the circumstances leading to and/or surrounding Trajan Bekirov's 
death, in addition to seeking to determine whether other forms of 
wrongdoing have taken place. The results of the investigation, 
including that of the autopsy, should be transparent, and set to rest 
any and all open questions surrounding these events.

Yours sincerely,
Dimitrina Petrova (ERRC) and Asmet Elezovski (NRC)

For further information on the case, please contact:

Asmet Elezovski (NRC) elezovski@nationalromacentrum.org +389-31-427-558
Anita Danka (ERRC) anita.danka@errc.org +36-1-413-2200

Persons wishing to express similar concerns on the Trajan Bekirov 
case are urged to direct communication to:

Dr. Vlado Buckovski
Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia
Fax: +389-2-311-80-22

Ms. Meri Mladenovska Gjorgjievska
Minister of Justice of Republic of Macedonia
Dimitrie Cupovski Street, 9, 1000 Skopje, Macedonia
Fax: +389 23 226 975

Mr. Ljubomir Mihajlovski
Minister of Interior
Dimce Mircev Street, bb, 1000 Skopje, Macedonia
Fax: +389 23 112 468

Mr. Aleksandar Prcevski
Public Prosecutor
Krste Misirkov Street, bb, 1000 Skopje, Macedonia
Fax: +389 23 219 866

_________________________________________

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is an international public 
interest law organization engaging in a range of activities aimed at 
combating anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma, in 
particular strategic litigation, international advocacy, research and 
policy development, and training of Romani activists. For more 
information about the European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC 
website at http://www.errc.org.

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Hungary
Tel.: ++ (36 1) 413 2200
Fax: ++ (36 1) 413 2201
E-mail: office@errc.org

_________________________________________

The National Roma Centrum (NRC) is a professional non-governmental 
organization, which represents and stimulates the active 
participation and integration of Romani people on the principles of 
the modern multiethnic European society. Its activities focus on 
human rights, lobbying, education and employment.

National Roma Centrum
Done Bozinov 11/5, 1 300
Kumoanovo
Tel/fax: +389-31-427-558
E-mail: info@nationalromacentrum.org,
contact@nationalromacentrum.org

---------------------------------------------
This message was sent using Endymion MailMan.
http://www.endymion.com/products/mailman/ http://www.microlink.com/