no. 07-00- 584 /202 2 -02 date: March 8, 2023.
The opinion was issued in the procedure regarding the complaint of the organization AA filed against BB, due to discrimination based on national affiliation or ethnic origin. The complaint stated that the portal VV published on its Facebook page the news “Roma without electricity from Nis: We are hurt by comments that we are privileged”, which caused a large number of negative comments, among which was a particularly dangerous comment by BB: “if Hitler only had one more Saturday the world would be saved from them… But that will also happen JJ“. The complainant believes that BB justifies the actions of Hitler during the Second World War and that with this comment they are calling for violence against the Roma. The complaint further stated that since the comment was removed, the complaint was filed only against BB and not against the VV portal. At the request for a statement on the complaint, BB did not submit an answer. The rule on shifting the burden of proof from Article 45 of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination is important for the analysis of this case. According to this rule, the complainant should make an act of discrimination probable, and if they do so, the burden of proving that the principle of equal rights and obligations was not violated as a result of that act, lies on the person against whom the complaint was filed. In accordance with this article, if an act of direct discrimination has been committed or if that is undisputed between the parties, a person cannot be released from responsibility by proving that they are not guilty. During the procedure, the Commissioner first stated that the act of discrimination was made probable, given that a printout of BB’s comments was submitted with the complaint. Proceeding from the fact that BB, although they duly received the request for a statement, did not present such a statement, the Commissioner analyzed the case based on the evidence and facts submitted. In the proceedings, it was established that BB left a controversial comment below the published news, publicly alluding to the need to exterminate members of the Roma national minority, and expressed regret that this did not happen during the Second World War, stating ” But that will also happen JJ” This type of public discourse is a manifestation of open hatred towards members of a certain national minority, but it is distressing for the wider community as well, especially bearing in mind the anti-fascist history and the great suffering of our citizens in the Second World War, as well as the centuries-long coexistence of members of different national, cultural and ethnic communities. This statement goes beyond humiliating and insulting behavior and represents hate speech because the statement indicates that the “surviving” members of this nation will face the fate of their compatriots during Hitler’s regime. Such a statement is unacceptable in a democratic society and represents a discriminatory act, which is given special weight by the fact that it was made through social networks, the content of which is publicly available to a large number of people. Therefore, the Commissioner issued the opinion that BB violated the provisions of Article 11 of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination. It was recommended to BB to offer a public apology to the members of the Roma national minority, as well as not to violate the legal regulations on the prohibition of discrimination in the future.
COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF EQUALITY