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Montenegro Activists Protest Femicide Verdict, Demand Reform to System

Human rights activists in Montenegro called for the government to hold a special thematic session to present critical issues in the current system for prevention and protection against violence, along with concrete proposals for its improvement.

Around a hundred civil activists gathered on Friday in front of the government building in Podgorica to protest against the Higher Court verdict in the femicide case in a protest organised by the NGO Women’s Rights Centre.

The court on Monday sentenced Dalibor Nikolic to 12 years in prison after his pregnant wife, Zumrita Nerda, died on January 17, 2022 from his beating.

The head of the Women’s Rights Centre, Maja Raicevic, said they were protesting because they had not received a response to earlier demands for the government to reform a system “that fails to protect victims”.

“We demand that the government strengthen the authority of the previously established operational team for family violence as an independent mechanism to assess the performance of all relevant institutions involved in the system combating violence,” Raicevic said.

“The goal is to ensure effective protection of victims, end impunity for officials who fail to fulfill their duties in cases of family violence and build trust in the work of state institutions.”

Zumrita Nerda, a 27-year-old Roma, died five days after being badly beaten by her husband at their home in the port of Bar. The Higher State Prosecution accused Nikolic of beating his wife for eight hours after an argument in front of their three minor children, stressing she received dozens of blows with fists and an improvised baseball bat.

Miranda Nerda told the gathered crowd that her sister, Zumrita, had suffered brutal violence for 11 years, and that a 12-year prison sentence was too lenient.

“Where is the justice here? Is this justice?” she asked, while the gathered activists expressed their disapproval with whistles.

Source : BalkanInsight