The Presumption of Justice

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The Presumption of Justice
The Presumption Of Justice poster.jpg
Directed by Boris Malagurski
Ivana Rajović
Produced by Boris Malagurski
Screenplay by Boris Malagurski
Ivana Rajović
Production
company
Release date
  • 29 June 2012 (2012-06-29) (Serbia)
Running time
41 minutes
Country Serbia
Language English, Serbian, French

The Presumption of Justice is a 2012 documentary film, directed by Boris Malagurski and Ivana Rajović,[1][2] it deals with the September 2009 murder of Brice Taton, a fan of Toulouse FC, who travelled to Belgrade, Serbia in order to support his club in its UEFA Europa League away match versus FK Partizan. The film focuses on the subsequent court case in Serbia which, resulted in a dozen FK Partizan fans being convicted of the crime. It argues that the handling of the case was negligent at both its investigative and trial stages, resulting in a miscarriage of justice in the case of Stefan Veličković, one of the 12 convicted fans.[3]

Synopsis[edit]

The film focuses on an incident in which French football fan Brice Taton died in Belgrade, and which led to 12 young people being sentenced to a total of 115 years of prison. On September 17, 2009, a fight broke out on Obilićev venac Square when Partizan fans attacked several Toulouse fans, which - the film claims - led to Brice Taton falling off a ledge and dying in a hospital ten days later.[4] According to the director Ivana Rajović, one of the Partizan fans, Stefan Veličković, couldn't have been a part of the fight, because he was getting a traffic violation ticket in Makedonska street several blocks away at the time the fight was taking place.[1] In spite of Stefan having an alibi, he was sentenced to seven years in prison.[5]

The film chronicles several alleged inconsistencies between the statements of the accused and the court findings in the case, analyzing whether Taton was thrown off a ledge or had fallen while running away from the fight.[6]

The film alleges the trial was finished with record speed, and that the verdict didn't explain what happened that day, since none of the evidence provided answers to how Brice Taton fell off the ledge.[7] The film comes to the conclusion that the media and state and legal institutions misrepresented the case, and attempts to explain why this happened.[8]

Release[edit]

Theatrical[edit]

The film premiered in Belgrade on June 29, 2012,[9] with subsequent showings in Subotica,[10] Novi Sad, Niš,[11] Bačka Palanka,[12] Zrenjanin,[13] Pančevo,[14] Sremski Karlovci,[15] Nova Pazova[16] and other cities.

While promoting his film, Malagurski stated that the Serbian media coverage of the case, specifically instances of the suspects being referred to as the "murderers who need to be punished severely" before the trial even began, whipped up the mass sentiments for political ends and created a societal atmosphere not conducive to determining facts and carrying out justice.[17] He called the court case itself "the biggest disgrace of the Serbian justice system".[17]

Television[edit]

The film had its broadcasting premiere in April 2013 as a part of Malagurski's TV show on Happy TV, which also featured an interview with an alleged witness, Dragan Crepulja, who was not called to testify. In the interview, Crepulja claimed that he "saw it when the now deceased Taton fell, there was nobody next to him, not on the stairs, not by his side... I was two meters close to Taton when he fell, I immediately looked around, up and down, there was no one there, I can confirm that. I told this to the police officers who came."[3]

Threats controversy[edit]

In September 2012, the film's co-directors Boris Malagurski and Ivana Rajović filed a criminal investigation request with the Belgrade public prosecutor's office against 12 members of the Parapsihopatologija internet message board for alleged "organized threats to their life and personal and professional safety", made under online forum nicknames after the premiere of The Presumption of Justice. Upon investigation that began in July 2013, three of the 12 individuals (Rastislav Dinić, Nemanja Poleksić, and Marko Nikolić), whose real-life identities were determined via local internet providers, got charged by the Belgrade prosecutor's office. In March 2014, Dinić, Poleksić, and Nikolić were found guilty by the Higher Court in Belgrade, each getting sentenced to a year in prison, suspended for 3 years of probation.[18][19][20] Once the court decision got declared, it was criticized by Milica Jovanović[18][19] and Dario Hajrić[21] writing on Peščanik as well as Jovana Gligorijević writing in Vreme.[20] They opined that Dinić's, Poleksić's, and Nikolić's online remarks didn't constitute threats but merely insults while Gligorijević further criticized various aspects of the production and financing of The Presumption of Justice.

Malagurski's response to Gligorijević's piece got published in Vreme in early April 2014,[22] disputing her claims about the movie's production and financing. A few days later, a piece by Malagurski got published in Nova srpska politička misao, criticizing what he saw to be a tendency on the part of the Serbian politicians and media outlets that otherwise consider themselves to be liberal, civic-minded, and to be espousing Western values to characterize him as a "crybaby" over his decision to file a criminal investigation request for receiving online threats.[23] In a Politika op-ed, historian Čedomir Antić criticized those in the Serbian public whose criticism of Malagurski was based on his decision to file a criminal investigation request for receiving online threats.[24] Antić also criticized the then VP of the Government of Vojvodina Goran Ješić for saying that Ješić, as Antić quoted Ješić's Twitter comment, "endorses everything they wrote", noting that their online remarks included threats of "explaining Malagurski some things with a metal rod on his face", "closing one or both of Malagurski's eyes", and "advocating sexual violence against Malagurski and Rajović".[24]

Interviewees[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b A film about Brice Taton Politika Newspaper | 27 June 2012
  2. ^ The Presumption of Justice Krstarica film page
  3. ^ a b Drugačija istina o stradanju Brisa Tatona PressOnline.rs
  4. ^ The truth about the death of Brice Taton Alo Newspaper | 26 June 2012 Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ A documentary about Brice Taton announced Večernje Novosti Newspaper | 26 June 2012
  6. ^ Interview with Boris Malagurski Press Newspaper | 28 June 2012
  7. ^ The Taton Case - The Presumption of Justice Pečat magazine | 5 July 2012
  8. ^ The Taton case in a new documentary Pravda Newspaper | 26 June 2012
  9. ^ Premiere in Belgrade 24sata, Source: Tanjug | 26 June 2012
  10. ^ Vojvodina premiere Subotica.com | 29 June 2012
  11. ^ Niš premiere RadioCity | 14 October 2012
  12. ^ Bačka Palanka premiere Tourist Organization of Bačka Palanka | 1 October 2012
  13. ^ Zrenjanin premiere IloveZrenjanin | 24 October 2012
  14. ^ Pančevo premiere Radio Pančevo
  15. ^ Sremski Karlovci premiere F@M Management Faculty | 29 October 2012
  16. ^ Nova Pazova premiere Dveri | February 2013
  17. ^ a b Press conference report NSPM | 26 June 2012
  18. ^ a b A parody of justice (in English)
  19. ^ a b Parodija pravde( in Serbian)
  20. ^ a b Lagumi foruma i sudski epilozi
  21. ^ Hajrić, Dario (2 March 2014). "Insults and Insinuations". Peščanik. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  22. ^ "Worrying support". Vreme. April 3, 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  23. ^ Polemike | Akademski huligani - kako "građanska Srbija" poziva na linč Boris Malagurski, NSPM.rs
  24. ^ a b Antić, Čedomir (17 April 2014). "Malagurski". Politika online. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 

External links[edit]