One of the leading figures of the struggle for justice and human rights in Serbia, Biljana Kovacevic-Vuco, has died today, at the age of 58.
A lawyer by profession, Biljana Kovacevic-Vuco put her knowledge and skills at the service of justice in an outstanding way. She became an human rights activist in 1992, when she founded the Council forHuman Rights of the Center for Antiwar Action in Belgrade, where she headed an SOS helpline for the victims of political and ethnic discrimination, as well as discrimination at the workplace. Since then, her work towards the defence of human rights focused primarily on providing justice. In 1997 she founded YUCOM, the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights. Among her achievements, she and her team at Yucom successfully sued the Serbian state at the European Court for Human Rights, having it condemned twice for violating human rights (the Yucom website does not provide detailed information about the cases), as well as having won a case against Serbia on the UN Human Rights Council, the case of the journalist Zeljko Bodrožić.
With Sonja Biserko and Natasa Kandic, Biljana Kovacevic-Vuco was one of the most prominent defenders of the need for Serbia to assume and come to terms with its involvement in the wars in the 1990s. She was also on the frontline of the struggle against the Serbian nationalist sectors. Throughout her life as an activist, she revealed to be an example of great courage, never allowing the numerous threats and all sorts of intimidation with which she was routinely faced to prevent her from carrying away her mission.
This is a great loss for Serbia, for democracy and the cause of justice and human rights. May her example be followed by the new generations in Serbia.