Trial of Miša Vacić again postponed – unbased court decision and passivity of the prosecution

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) wishes to inform the public that the trial of Miša Vacić, one of the leaders of the rightwing extremist organisation Naši 1389, has again been postponed today at the request of the defence.

GSA would like to remind the public that the judge, Ivana Ramić, made it clear during the previous postponement of the main hearing on 7 April 2011, that she would insist upon holding the next (i.e. today’s) hearing, given that the defence has used various excuses to postpone it on several occassions.

Still, today’s trial has again been postponed at the request of the defence, who tried to dispute the legality of witness Lazar Pavlović, president of GSA. Namely, the defence argued that Pavlović does not have evidence to substantiate his authority to represent the organisation (GSA) and that he needs to provide authorization from GSA that he was elected to represent it in this case.

After this remark GSA immediately provided to the judge, the defence council and the prosecutor all documents (from the Business Registers Agency – APR) which prove that Lazar Pavlović is the authorized person and legal representative of GSA in accordance with the Law on Associations and the Statute of GSA.

Regardless of that, however, on the further insisting of the defence and a completely passive stance of the prosecutor, the judge ruled that the hearing is postponed for 5 September 2011 and ordered Lazar Pavlović to provide authorization from GSA for representing the organisation in this trial.

GSA feels that this ruling of the court is, to say the least, without legal basis in the Law on Associations, which defines the rights and responsibilities of a legal representative of an organisation, and given that GSA did provide evidence from APR which prove Lazar Pavlović to be authorised for representing Gay Straight Alliance. This court decision is a paradox in more ways than one, since the authorisation to Lazar Pavlović which GSA will subsequently provide to the court will have to be signed by Lazar Pavlović himself, because he is the legal representative of GSA, as has already been stated.

GSA therefore wonders whether the judiciary in Serbia have the right to interpret the existing laws as they please or invoke them selectively, and most of all, is there even any desire to finally hold the trial against Miša Vacić?

We would like to remind the public that the proceedings against Miša Vacić are conducted on the basis of an indictment for spreading racial and other discrimination during the organising of 2009 Pride Parade (Criminal Law, article 387) and illegal possession of firearms. This is the first time in our legal practice that one of the representatives or members of the rightwing extremist organisations has been charged under the article 387 of the CL for violence and discrimination against LGBT people.

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