Serbia: Court makes landmark ruling against homophobic discrimination

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A court in a city in northern Serbia set a legal precedent when it fined a man for discriminating against a work colleague because he was gay.

The defendant in the case, known only by the initials D K, of Novi Sad, was to pay 180,000 dinars (£1,322) to the plaintiff for causing mental suffering, violating his personal rights, reputation and honour, reports Balkan Insight.

He will also have to pay the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), which represented the plaintiff, 99,000 dinars (£727) in court costs.

The Appellate Court noted the fact that the word “faggot” had been used to describe the gay man in a “negative, humiliating, disparaging and insulting manner”.

The GSA was first contacted in March 2011 by the plaintiff, only known by initials M A, who said he was being physically abused, threatened and insulted by his colleague.

The GSA said it was satisfied with the outcome of the court case, and the speed at which the case was dealt with.

In October, the country’s Prime Minister Ivica Dacic announced that a planned Pride event had been banned for a second year running, because of security concerns. UN officials urged the Serbian government to reconsider the ban.

A far-right Serbian leader, whose death-threats against homosexuals led to the cancellation of gay pride march in Belgrade in 2010 was convicted and sentenced to 10 months in prison, back in 2012.

This case constitutes the first ruling for discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation in Serbia.

Recent research suggested that only 26% of the Serbian population believed that the state should protect the rights of gay and lesbian people, while 62% do not share this opinion.