Supreme State Prosecution Office is obligated to take over the case of “Bijelo Polje babies” to satisfy justice

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) provides full support to damaged parents in case of “Bijelo Polje babies” and requests the acting Supreme State Prosecutor Dražen Burić to take over this case of social importance from the jurisdiction of the High Court in Bijelo Polje for further action.

A convicting court decision was brought twice in this case for Tomislav Jeremić, Haka Tahirović, Zvonko Puletić and Jela Cimbaljević, with prison sentences, and the Supreme Court, due to incorrect application of substantive law, revoked the verdict of the Court of Appeals, without considering the factual circumstances of this case. Currently, in the repeated procedure, in front of the High Court in Bijelo Polje, a non-final acquittal verdict has been pronounced for these accused doctors. This also indicates a certain responsibility of the acting prosecutor who, judging by these available facts, did not act conscientiously enough in this sensitive and very important case.

CCE assesses that it is very important that the acting High State Prosecution Office takes over the case from Bijelo Polje Prosecutor’s Office to the Supreme State Prosecutor’s Office for further proceedings to make an adequate appeal, but also to thoroughly evaluate the work of the current acting prosecutor. CCE finds the basis for this in suspicions that omission of the state prosecutor in qualifying the offense resulted in an acquittal outcome for the defendants.

With the protest on 20 November in Bijelo Polje, parents again publicly demanded justice, in hope that their call will be heard by the judicial authorities, but also all citizens who, in this system, can find themselves in the same situation. The importance of the case of Bijelo Polje babies and the perception of citizens is illustrated by the fact that the recording of the parents’ protest in Bijelo Polje was viewed almost 330,000 times on News from Bijelo Polje Facebook page, with a huge number of comments where citizens sympathize with the victims.

As a reminder, in 2014, in Bijelo Polje maternity hospital, due to negligent provision of medical services, the health condition of newborn babies deteriorated, one of whom died, and the other was put in serious health danger.

As the court does not bind the qualification of the Prosecutor’s Office’s work, it is necessary that the acting High State Prosecution Office in the appellate procedure, explaining the medical guilt and its context of social significance, takes this case into priority consideration after the delivery of the first instance decision which is already late with service.

Unfortunately, after seven years, there is still no elementary level of justice, which would have to be confirmed in such and similar cases, for the case law to show the importance of general prevention and additional caution of the health system that failed due to irresponsibility of the accused. CCE believes that the new acquittal for doctors indicates that the procedural-legal procedure and interpretation of the prosecutorial-judicial system failed, which requires a serious institutional response.

Snežana Kaluđerović, Senior Legal Advisor