Gay Straight Alliance (GSA; Alliance) informs the public that the verdict of the First Basic Court in Belgrade, which determined discriminatory behavior and severe form of discrimination of LGBT population by Nebojsa Bakarec, official of the conservative Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) and councilor in the Belgrade City Assembly, became final (res judicata), after sentenced Bakarec did not appeal against the first instance verdict in the legal time limit. The verdict which has now become final was based on articles 11, 12, 13 and 21 of the Serbian Anti-Discrimination Law. With this verdict Nebojsa Bakarec is prohibited from repeating the discriminatory behavior and was ordered to pay legal fees to the plaintiff (GSA).
GSA Litigation Service filed a lawsuit against Nebojsa Bakarec for his text under the title „Second October 2011“, published on September 16, 2011, on the website „vidovdan.org“ (Vidovdan Magazin), in which he stated his position that homosexuality is not normal and that it should be treated by psychiatrists and psychologists.
Alliance reminds that the Court in the explanation of the verdict emphasized that it is very important to sanction the hate speech indicating clearly where the freedom of speech stops and the hate speech begins. It was also stated that hate speech is „every communication undermining and intimidating a person or a group on basis of race, skin color, ethnicity or nationality, gender, sexual orientation, religion or other characteristics, which contributes to incitement of violence and prejudices toward an individual or a group“, and also that „the essential threat of the expression of opinion with the elements of hate speech is in the message with such content that has as a goal to provoke certain negative consequences for a particular individual or a group depending on their personal characteristic“. The Court also consider that everyone who publicly expresses his/her opinion has to estimate responsibly and conscientiously where are the boundaries between the freedom of speech and the hate speech, and that with the expressed positions in the text „Second October 2011“, Nebojsa Bakarec violated the prohibition of the hate speech by portraying the same-sex sexual orientation as a disease and as something „abnormal“ in the public media.
Gay Straight Alliance is satisfied with the final outcome of this lawsuit which sanctioned hate speech against LGBT persons, as well as the misuse of the most frequent social prejudice and the untruth about LGBT individuals – that they are ill. This, but also the previous verdicts, that have the hate speech as a subject, especially those referring to the statements of politicians, are of a strategic importance for the improvement of the LGBT population’s position and its social inclusion. This verdict is undoubtedly an example of good court practice and will be used in similar future processes for sanctioning of the hate speech.
GSA Litigation Service, beside the final verdict on Nebojsa Bakarec, so far had success in several other court cases dealing with the hate speech against LGBT population, such as final verdict for the daily newspapers „Press“, first-instance verdict for Dragan Markovic Palma (MP, president of political party United Serbia and former mayor of city of Jagodina) or verdicts for threats to LGBT persons. Court of Appeal unfortunately revoked the first-instance verdict on Markovic and sent it back for a new trial for procedural breach of the process; the first trial in the repeated process is set for February 7, 2013 at the First Basic Court in Belgrade.
GSA Litigation Service is engaged since 2009 and providing free legal assistance and representation before the courts of the victims of violence and discrimination based on expressed or assumed sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as with creation of the court practice in this area and monitoring of the work of the police and the justice system. Until now it processed and leads more than 30 court cases at various courts in Serbia, which is a significant success considering that until 2009 there were almost no court practice on cases based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Serbia. GSA Litigation Service is running different cases, criminal and civil lawsuits, amongst which is the murder attempt of the lesbian A.Z. in October 2011 for wearing a T-shirt with the Pride Parade logo, beating of the gay man V.M. in the nearness of the gay club in September this year, insulting and bullying of the professor M.D. from Novi Sad at school for his sexual orientation, banning of the GSA press conference in Sava Center and many others. GSA Litigation Service also gives legal advices to LGBT persons in lawsuits they process independently. Cases which Litigation Service is running are presented in the most part in the GSA annual reports on the state of human rights of LGBT persons in Serbia.
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