News 05 Oct 12

Serbia Mourns Prominent Human Rights Activist

International law expert and human rights activist Vojin Dimitrijevic died at the age of 81 on Friday in Belgrade.

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Belgrade

Dimitrijevic was director of the Belgrade Center for Human Rights and an honorary law professor at the Union Faculty.

He was considered as a strong advocate for reconciliation in the region and one of the most respected international law experts.

During the 1990s, Dimitrijevic stood against Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

“Dimitrijevic opposed the wars when it was hardest, he fought for the democratization of Serbia”, said Cedomir Jovanovic, the president of the Serbian Liberal Party.

Law professor Vesna Rakic Vodinelic said that Dimitrijevic continuosly fought for human rights.

“He never gave up. He constantly fought for human rights and he believed it was an achievable goal for Serbia,” she explained.

The president of the Serbian Assembly’s Committee for Human Rights, Meho Omerovic, said that Serbia had lost a great man, great fighter for civil society and rule of law.

Dimitrijevic became a member of the Council of Europe Venice Commission in 2000 and a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2001. 

He was an ad hoc judge of the International Court of Justice, ICJ, from 2001 until 2003. Before that, he was also commissioner at the International Commission of Jurists and member of their board of directors. 

He was one of the founders of the International Relations Forum in 1995, a member of the Serbian PEN Center from 1986 and a visiting professor at the universities of Virginia, Oslo and Lund. 

Dimitrijevic, who was born in Rijeka, Croatia grew up in Belgrade graduated from the Faculty of Law in Belgrade in 1956. He got his PhD in 1965. 

He started his career as an administrative secretary in the Yugoslav Group of the Inter-parliamentary Union from 1958 until 1959. He was a research associate of the International Politics and Economy Institute from 1959 until 1960. He then became an assistant, docent and finally a tenured professor at the Faculty of Law. 

In parallel with his law carrier, Dimitrijevic hosted a television program broadcast on TV Belgrade in the mid-70s when he gained popularity.

He was a longtime member of UN's Human Rights Committee and president of the Yugoslav Forum for Human Rights. 

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