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Murdered Teen’s Father Rallies Support for ‘Tijana’s Law’ on Serbian Social Media

One of the images widely circulated on the Internet in the impromptu social media campaign for Tijana's Law. Drawing by unknown artist.

One of the images widely circulated on the Internet in the impromptu social media campaign for Tijana's Law, with the question that everyone is asking: “Why hasn't Tijana's Law been adopted yet?”. Drawing by unknown artist.

The gruesome murder of 15-year-old Tijana Jurić in early August 2014 shook Serbian society so deeply that some people called for the death penalty to be reinstated. The young victim's father Igor Jurić, however, found what many think is a better solution, with the help of legal experts from the University of Novi Sad. Within weeks after his daughter's tragic death, Jurić presented the government of Serbia with a proposal for new legislature that may have saved his daughter's life.

The proposal for the new law has been dubbed “Tijana's Law” and was presented in late August 2014, but has not yet been passed by the Serbian government, nor has it been discussed in Parliament. Almost four months later, social networks have been flooded with the hashtag, #podrži (#SupportIt) and user-generated images on social networks asking the same question: “Why hasn't Tijana's Law been passed yet?”

How many more children need to die for you to adopt Tijana's Law? Or is whose child the right question? #podrzi pic.twitter.com/ccpTJp2TuY

The new suggested law proposes simply that police searches for minors should begin as soon as a minor is reported missing by parents or guardians and that Serbia's high-tech crime unit should be involved in the search immediately. The latter would enable police to locate the mobile phones of the missing minors as well as activity of mobile phones in the vicinity that may be related to these cases.

In the case of Tijana Jurić, her abductor and alleged murderer, who confessed to the heinous crime in court, was eventually located due to police tracing his mobile phone, but days after her death. Tijana had her mobile phone with her on the evening she was abducted and it is feasible that the phone could have been located in the time-span between her abduction and murder. Theoretically at least, had there been a law in place that allowed police to react immediately and the high-tech crime police unit to locate her telephone in time, Tijana's life might have been saved. This sort of immediate reaction from authorities is exactly what Tijana's Law proposes.

Igor Jurić has publicly asked people to help him push the law to be considered by Serbia's Parliament, stating that he deems this his life's mission after his daughter's death.

Igor Jurić, Tijana's father, holds a sign saying, "Help me get TIJANA'S LAW adopted." This was one of the first images  of the online campaign supporting the proposed law and has been widely circulated on social networks.

Igor Jurić, Tijana's father, holds a sign saying, “Help me get TIJANA'S LAW adopted.” This was one of the first images of the online campaign supporting the proposed law and has been widely circulated on social networks.

While some say that Serbia has adequate existing laws for such cases, many seem unsatisfied with the existing laws or their implementation. The #podrži campaign is abundantly present on both Twitter and Facebook. A Facebook page was created on December 14 to collect the images and support the online campaign for Tijana's Law and, within just one day, already garnered close to 5,000 fans. The page has also collected images from dozens of users supporting the proposed law and new images continue to pour in hourly.

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