CEAS Announcement - Regarding misogynist announcement on the Serbian Radical Party’s website and BETA’s unprofessional reporting from the preparatory hearing in the case of Jelena Milić v. Vojislav Šešelj
The Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies from Belgrade (CEAS) calls on the relevant parliamentary and other state bodies, and especially the Commissioner for Equality, to respond urgently, in line with their competences, to the misogynist statement of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) (link below). The very title of the statement reads: "I have proved that Jelena Milić is NATO’s crabs".
CEAS reminds that the SRS is a parliamentary party, and is partly financed from the budget of the Republic of Serbia (RS), that is by taxpayers' money, which includes CEAS as a citizens' association and Jelena Milić, as an individual.
Regarding the erroneous and tendentious statements of Vojislav Šešelj, a person convicted of crimes against humanity, CEAS particularly points out that he is sued for misogynistic insults expressed, with the approval of the presenter, on national frequency television station, that is a public resource, which makes it a resource of CEAS and Jelena Milić as legitimate subjects in a democratic society. Namely, Vojislav Šešelj published a book entitled "NATO’s crabs Jelena Milić", which he promoted on TV Happy and attempted to do the same on Studio B and TV Pink. The presenter of the aforementioned show is now a host of the TV Pink’s morning program. To make the situation even more absurd, most of the media substitute the word "crabs” with asterisks. In the meantime, Šešelj continues unhindered with his misogynistic outbursts against Jelena Milić on national frequency television stations, in particular on Happy TV.
The lawsuit states: “The defendant (Vojislav Šešelj), in his appearance on TV Happy’s “Good Morning Serbia” show on 15 August 2018, made statements that violate the honor and dignity of the plaintiff (Jelena Milić), and expressed insults against the plaintiff. The plaintiff requests that the court find that the defendant has violated her honor and reputation, order the defendant to pay the plaintiff a sum of ..... dinars for non-pecuniary damage due to mental suffering and fear, and oblige the defendant to publish the verdict. "
Šešelj was not sued for statements concerning how CEAS is financed, nor for the statements regarding projects implemented with NATO's Department of Public Diplomacy, although Šešelj and certain media are trying to steer the upcoming trial in that direction. In addition, there is no document on the financing or non-financing of CEAS by NATO, as the SRS statement wrongly asserts. All CEAS projects and donors have always been publicly available on the organization's website.
CEAS reminds that several years ago Šešelj made misogynistic insults at the expense of Jelena Milić on another TV station with national frequency, claiming that she was rotting away from syphilis, just to mention one of many insults that was never condemned, which fortunately is not the case with his other victims.
CEAS expresses its dissatisfaction with the manner BETA journalist reported from the hearing. Like the other media representatives, he obviously came on SRS's invitation, because we do not invite the media to attend the many court cases we are conducting. We are forced to file criminal charges and civil lawsuits against the media and well known characters, such as Nemanja Ristić, who was among those convicted of attempted coup in Montenegro, for threats to life, insults and defamation, due to the inadequate reaction of the competent state authorities. Many of the cases are still pending several years after the charges were filled.
Just a day earlier, Jelena Milić had an extremely grueling hearing in a case against Jugoslav Petrušić, who is on trial for the murder of two Albanians.
BETA mistakenly and tendentiously described the atmosphere before the hearing, claiming it resembled an "argument between the two parties." CEAS points out that upon arrival Vojislav Šešelj shouted in the hallway: "Where is NATO’s crabs, has NATO’s crabs arrived already?", and as he noticed Jelena Milić he yelled: "There she is NATO’s crabs". The legal representative simply stated that her client’s name is Jelena Milić, while the plaintiff herself did not utter a word before nor during the hearing.
CEAS otherwise observed the trend, currently imposed by Milomir Marić, that SRS and Vojislav Šešelj, on the one hand, and CEAS and Jelena Milić, on the other, are two sides of the same coin, which we have rejected with indignation all these years, and we will continue to do so. Our methods, results of our public work and our values, are in no way comparable.
CEAS also informs the other media that are creating an atmosphere of "impending spectacle" in the courtroom, that CEAS and Jelena Milić will do everything to prevent this from happening, because it is one of Šešelj's well-known methods of deviating from the issue. This time, the issue is that the institutions need to work properly, that they have to respond equally in equal cases, and that misogyny that Šešelj spreads unchallenged, is unacceptable, regardless of who communicates it, the reason behind it, or the intended target.
CEAS and Jelena Milić reject the alleged "mediation" offered by Milomir Marić because we refuse to be put in a position where the judge and the jury are one and the same, or to be individually acquitted from the charges of being spies and traitors, as Petrušić allegedly offers. CEAS and Jelena Milić, also do not accept arguments that justify the indifference and unresponsiveness to the harassment we are suffering, which can be summed up as – that’s what you get when you appear on TV Happy or Pink. These are media with national frequency, on the one hand, and legitimate actors in public life, on the other.
CEAS reminds the Equality Commissioner that 16 days of activism combating violence against women campaign is still ongoing, and that the systematic misogyny spread by the member of the Parliament is very visible in the media, and that it evidently represents violence against women.
Belgrade, 6 December 2019