victim and Who's the Accused in the Trial of Bishop Pahomije?
Belgrade, March 9, 2006
The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia
strongly protests against the manner in which the presiding judge has
conducted the recently ended trial of Bishop of Vranje Pahomije, accused
of the crimes that had been systematically regulated in developed
Judicial bodies were prolonging the trial until the
point when two counts of the indictment reached the status of
limitation. The Serbian Orthodox Church - in spite of the strong
pressure from the public and the media - simply claimed that "no one is
guilty until proven otherwise," rather than conducted an in-house
review. And it was the accused Bishop whom state accepted as a member of
the Kosovo negotiating team. Simultaneously, four juveniles had to take
witness stands four times to recount their traumatic experience.
Moreover, the very trial was marked by the atmosphere
indicating that the accused was a victim, rather than a citizen standing
trial for the crimes was suspected for. On the other hand, judicial
bodies totally ignored their obligation to protect interests of juvenile
victims of such crimes with special care, thus ignoring relevant
international conventions on juveniles' rights at the same time.