Announcement of the Council of Deans

The Council of Deans, Members of the Scientific-Teaching council and Directors of scientific institutes within the University of Belgrade, has come to the following conclusions at the session held on February 3 1997. regarding the situation at the University and its members following the police intervention in the night between February 2 and 3:

  1. The Council sharply condemns the action of the police in which brute force was used against citizens who were exercising their right to protest in a peaceful manner against the manipulations of the results of the local elections held on November 17 1996. During the intervention of the police elderly people, women and children were beaten, for the sole reason of expressing with dignity their stand concerning the events which even the OSCE Committee, invited by the Yugoslav Government, established as the counterfeiting of the will of the citizens. People who found themselves in the path of the police units were beaten, and among these victims of this violence were professors and students of the University of Belgrade. The brutal force exercised by the police during the previously mentioned night is an act which again disgraced the Serbian state; in Europe, at the end of the twentieth century, this kind of behavior is unthinkable.

  2. The council also most energetically protests against the entering of the police of the building of the School of Philosophy and the harassment the present students were exposed to. It is a matter of the hardest injuring of the autonomy of the University, which the Law of University in article 4. paragraph 4 protects with the words: The Area of the University and it members in impenetrable... But it is not only a matter of the breaking of the Law brought by the People's Parliament of Serbia but also an action against international norms regarding the autonomy of the University, which have been embedded in the foundations of the European and World civilization. We remind of the of decree of Declaration from Dar Es Salam, adopted under the protection of UNESCO in 1990, and was signed also by the Yugoslav representatives:

  3. Armed personnel, military or para-military forces, members of intelligence agencies or security agencies, as we as forces of law and order may not, individually or in groups enter the buildings or premises of institutions of higher education except under the following circumstances:

  4. The Deans of the Schools, members of the Scientific-Teaching Council and Directors of the institutes within the University of Belgrade have addressed the ministers in authority on multiple occasions, pointing out the actions threatening human rights. The refrain from answering has unfortunately given us reason to believe that the decisions on these matters are not made by the ministers. For this reason the Council appeals for the respect of the law and human rights by their superiors - primarily the President of Serbia.

  5. The Council confirms its stand that the crises in Serbia must be resolved solely by peaceful measures, and condemns the use of violence.

In Belgrade, February 3, 1997

Prof. Dr. Fedor Zdanski

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