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All incidents before Serbian courts: Attempts at self-immolation, throat cutting, poison, threats

Zoran Jelicic is not the only one who tried to hurt himself or other persons during or after a trial

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The news that Zoran Jelicic, a member of the Valjevo Group, tried to cut his own throat while at the stand of the Special Court in Belgrade, shook the public. Questions have been raised about how he managed to bring a sharp object into the courtroom, reminding some of one of the most controversial cases of courtroom deaths - that of Croatian General Slobodan Praljak, who, after the verdict against him was delivered by the Hague Tribunal, drank poison in front of the court cameras.

However, these are not isolated cases of suicide or suicide attempts, committed immediately or after a trial. In the past few years, there have been a number of incidents in front of courts and inside them, which either have been or could have been fatal.

Zoran Jeličić

Zoran Jelicic; Photo: RTS

Eight years ago, Miroljub Ivanovic from the village of Smrdan (Prokuplje municipality), threatened in the Prokuplje Basic Court that he would douse himself with gasoline which he was holding in a bottle in his hand, and burn himself. He then jumped from the third floor window of the court building.

In doing so, Ivanovic wanted to express his dissatisfaction with the verdict handed down by this court against his son Bosko, who was sentenced to one and a half years in prison for causing grievous bodily harm. Attemps to persuade him to calm down lasted about an hour. Ivanovic then closed the bottle of gasoline and told the police to come and apprehend him.

With a knife at the court

In November 2012, in front of the courthouse in the center of Smederevo, a man tried to stab his ex-wife with a knife, to then stab himself twice.

Smederevo High Court Investigative Judge Predrag Lukic,confirmed that G.B., 40, attacked his ex-wife O.B., 36, outside the courthouse, as reported by the media at the time.

"G.B. and O.B. had a scheduled hearing in the Basic court, in the same building, regarding alimony payments. Just before nine o'clock, in front of the courthouse, the husband knocked down his wife and started hitting her with his fists, after which he pulled out a knife and attacked her. Then he stabbed himself several times in the chest," Lukic siad at the time.

Noz, Nis, sud, zena

Illustration: Google maps, Shutterstock

In July 2018, another horrific incident happened in court, this time in Nis. An older man, B.S., 75, stabbed a girl (17) over a debt of 1,000 euros.

The unfortunate girl came to court to justify her mother's absence, and once there, the attacker sprayed her with tear gas. When the girl started screaming, the man stabbed her in the neck.

Immediately after the incident, the assailant, B. S., drank acid and passed away.

Gasoline in one hand, lighter in the other

A suicide attempt has also happened in front of the Basic and Higher Courts in Novi Sad last August. Stevan T., 50, tried to set himself on fire because of what the media reported was a lost dispute over a house.

The Novi Sad Higher Court issued a statement at the time about the case.

Samozapaljivanje sudnica

Illustration: Profimedia, AP/Tanjug

"A male person came in front of the courthouse in Sutjeska Street, poured a 2-liter bottle of gasoline over himself, took out a lighter he held in one hand and threatened to drink poison ('Total') he kept in a bottle in the other hand. In negotiations with members of the court security, he cited dissatisfaction with the work of the notary public as the reason for the stated threats," the court said.

After the incident, Stevan said he didn't want to hurt anyone, but had no choice except to take his own life.

"After the court's decision that I must give back the house, which I hard-earned, I have nothing but my bare life," Stevan said.

With hydrochloric acid against the judge

Another incident happened inside a court in Vranje earlier this month, when Negoslav K., 22, accused as an accomplice in a serious theft, threatened a judge with hydrochloric acid.

The incident took place after the judge threw him out of the courtroom for making a noise. He then went to the restroom, found a bottle of hydrochloric acid there and threatened to pour the poison over the judge, the deputy prosecutor and the defense lawyer.

Negoslav K. then escaped, but this was short-lived as the police soon handcuffed him again.

He was on trial before the Basic Court in Vranje on charges of aggravated theft. During the trial, he started shouting, causing Judge Ljiljana Nikolic to reprimand him. He ignored this, continued shouting, so Judge Nikolic removed him from the courtroom for disturbing the public order and peace.

Video: Zoran Jelicics lawyer: Similar incidents happen even in more serious courts

(D.S.)

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