The Autonomous Women's Center[1] and the Network of Women against Violence[2] decidedly object to yesterday's ruling[3] where a repeat rapist was handed down a very mild sentence, in a first degree court, and was put under house arrest until his sentence becomes legally binding.

The accused, Marjan Petkovski, has once already been released from custody in a case pertaining to criminal charges of prohibited sexual act committed previously.  With this previous ruling the court created the circumstances where he could rape again and now even severely beat up the victim. 

Considering that sexual violence, in most cases, remains unreported; court proceedings are such that women who survived sexual violence are expected to repeat their testimony several time and testify before the court as well; there is also a antiquated definition of what constitutes the criminal act of rape; and there is no specialized service intended for the support of women who have survived rape – so called Crisis Centers for rape victims, the state of Serbia in no way encourages women who have survived any form of sexual violence to report it.

Therefore, we immediately request that:

  1. The Ministry of Justice make recommendations to the State Assembly to change the definition of the criminal act of rape, in accordance to the ratified European Council Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, so as to make punishable every act of sexual penetration, regardless of the form and nature of the act, conducted against a person without their assent.

  2. The Ministry of Justice make recommendations to the State Assembly, as soon as possible, for the harmonization of domestic criminal legislation with the Minimum Rights Services and Standards for victims of criminal acts and that it establish Crisis Centers for victims of rape – specialized, free services intended to support victims, where the victim can find medical, psychological and legal help, as well as support.

  3. Relevant Ministries adopt the unified Protocol on Reaction of Professional Services in cases of reported sexual violence, so as to prevent secondary victimization in relation to these criminal acts and give clear instructions to all professionals, thereby improving the process of gathering and documenting all evidence in further court proceedings.

[1]The Autonomous Women's Center provides specialized support to women and encourages individual and institutional response  to male violence against women, and contributes to strengthening of civil society (

[2]The Network of Women against Violence consists of 27 women's organizations which provide services to women who have survived male violence in Serbia (

[3]More (in Serbian) at