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Yougoslavia, Federal Rep.of
14.02.03
Urgent Interventions

Serbia and Montenegro: 2 families threatened with eviction

Case YUG 140203. ESCR
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Threat of Eviction


The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Serbia and Montenegro.


Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Humanitarian Law Centre (HLC) of the possible eviction of two ethnic Albanian families, including 10 children, in Kotor, Serbia and Montenegro.

It is reported that seven members of the Kriezij family and eleven members of the Agushis family have until February 18th 2003, 11:00 am, to leave the public bathhouse where they are living, if they do not want to be evicted by the police.

According to the information received, the decision to evict the 2 families follows a High Court's decision (P# 371/99), in which the Executive Judge Ms. Suzana Calanovic-Todorovic, decided that the two families had to be evicted on January 21st 2003. The eviction reportedly did not take place on that date because the police could not be present to carry it out. It is reported that the eviction was then rescheduled for February 14th 2003 and that following the intervention of the HLC the police left the two families until February 18th 2003 to leave the premises.

According to the information received, the two families have been living in the public bathhouse, located in the old part of Kotor, for almost 20 years. It is reported that both families have paid their bills and their rent regularly and that they were officially registred at this address.

If the eviction takes place, the two families (18 individuals) will reportedly be left homeless as no alternative housing will be provided for them. According to the information received, when the HLC's attorney informed Executive Judge Ms. Suzana Calanovic-Todorovic about the obligations of Serbia and Montenegro under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) -and notably the fact that evictions should not result in rendering individuals homeless and that the government must, therefore, ensure that adequate alternative housing or resettlement is available- she was not aware of these obligations and commented that they are not binding for her as the ICESCR's provisions have not been incorporated into national law.


Background Information

The eviction of the 2 families occurs following a lawsuit lodged by Mr. Vojin Krtolica with respect to the bathhouse’s ownership.

Indeed, according to the information received, the local authorities of Kotor, the original owner of the public bathhouse, gave the building in question to Mr. Vojin Krtolica in compensation for his expropriated land. However, the same authorities reportedly had, at that time, ceded the public bathhouse to the Public Utilities Enterprise.

With regard to the case in question, the Court decided to give the bathhouse to Mr. Vojin Krtolica and to evict the 2 families.


Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Serbia and Montenegro urging them to:

i. take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the afore-mentioned persons;

i. guarantee the right to adequate housing of the 2 families;

ii. ensure respect for economic, social and cultural rights throughout the country, and in particular the right to adequate housing, in light of general Comments No. 4 and No. 7 of the U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

iii. guarantee that local authorities abide by international human rights obligations that Serbia and Montenegro has freely subscribed;

iv. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with international human rights standards;


Addresses

His Excellency Vojislav Kostunica, President of Serbia and Montenegro, Predsednik SRJ, Bulevar Mihaila Pupina 2, 11070 Belgrade, Yugoslavia Fax: (+381) 3015055 E-mail: VojislavKostunica@gov.yu

His Excellency, Prime Minister of Serbia and Montenegro, Dragiša Pešic, Bulevar Mihaila Pupina 2, 11070 Belgrade, Yugoslavia. E-mail: dragisa.pesic@gov.yu

His Excellency, Minister of Justice of Serbia and Montenegro, Markovic Savo, Republicko Ministarstvo za pravosudje i optu upravu, Namanjina 26, 11000 Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Fax: (+381) 11 141 997 E-mail: savo.markovic@gov.yu

His Excellency, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Montenegro, Svilanovic Goran. Fax : (+ 381) 11 3618 052 E-mail: goran.svilanovic@gov.yu

His Excellency, Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia and Montenegro, Živkovic Zoran. Fax: (+381) 11 311 71 59 E-mail: zoran.zivkovic@gov.yu

Government of Montenegro, President Milo Djukanovic, fax: +381 81 242 329; e-mail: mrocen@cg.yu

Ministry for the Protection of National and Ethnic Groups, Minister Gzin Hajdinaga, fax: +381 81 234 198; e-mail: gezim@mn.yu

County of Kotor, President Mr. Nikola Samardzic; fax: +381 325 864; e-mail: niksam@cg.y
Please also write to the embassies of Serbia and Montenegro in your respective country.

Geneva, February 14, 2003

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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