Serbian conscientious objector Milan Gligoric
Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (General Branko Krga, Chief of General Staff). You can add your own notes in a separate box after the standard text, if you wish.
You must include a name, address, and email address; a copy will be sent to you with a cc to the WRI office (so we have a record of how many email letters have been sent out for this particular case).
Dear General Branko Krga
I learned today about the fate of conscientious objector Milan Gligoric. Milan Gligoric, a Jehovah's Witness, was sentenced on 12 December 2002 to 4 months suspended sentence. In February 2003 he received a new call up to the military. On 3 March he reported to the military barracks "Sima Pogacarevic" in Vranje, unit number 4466/9, and again explained his conscientious objection. Milan Gligoric is prepated to serve in a genuine civilian alternative service - as is his human right - but he is not prepared to perform unarmed service within the military.
The constitution of Serbia and Montenegro guarantees the right to conscientious objection. On 7 and 12 March 2003 the Investigative Court in Nis gave permission to Milan Gligoric to apply for conscientious objection. He was told that the Ministry of Defence would respond to his application within 7 days - and that he would need to wait for the decision at the barracks in Vranje.
Although Milan Gligoric didn't perform any military duties, and didn't wear a uniform, he was also not allowed to leave the barracks. His in fact constitutes imprisonment - without any reason. Milan Gligoric got desperate, and left the barracks without permission on 11 April 2003. He is not prepared to return to the barracks, but he is prepared to begin a genuine civilian alternative service immediately, if the Ministry of Defence tells him where to serve.
It has to be feared that Milan Gligoric will be captured by Military Police, and will be brought back to his barracks, and charged with desertion. I call on you not to charge Milan Gligoric, as he was already sentenced because of his conscientious objection. A second trial would therefore be in breach of Article 14, paragraph 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
I urge you to release Milan Gligoric from the army immediately.