Everyone loves a disclaimer, right?: Before we start getting into detail with this article, it’s important to make some things clear. I don’t have an opinion either way on the ‘morality’ – or lack of – shown by all concerned with this case. And I certainly don’t wish to give the impression of casting judgement on anyone involved – that’s not my right. The only thing I do know is that this is an extremely confusing situation, a sinister occurrence surrounded by a grey area of not-insignificant proportion. There are no conclusions drawn or even hinted at in this article. Please bear that in mind when considering what has been written. I don’t want any metaphorical bricks coming through the metaphorical window of my blog’s metaphorical house.
If you don’t know who or what Uroš Mišić is or what he did – or is alleged to have done – likeliness is you’re not from Serbia. Uroš Mišić is an ultra fan of Crvena Zvezda (Red Star). In 2007, aged 19, he was involved in an incident at a Zvezda home game, during which he attacked a man later identified publicly as an undercover policeman, Nebojša Trajković. According to reports, Mišić tried to ram a flare into the mouth of the plain-clothed policeman, who was [for some reason] amongst the fans at the match in question. As a result of being charged for this offence, he was sentenced to ten years in prison for attempted murder. However, according to others, namely the Delije and similar fan groups, things are not so clear cut in that regard.
In the aftermath of Mišić’s sentencing, graffiti started appearing all around Belgrade, and elsewhere. Pravda za Uroša, it read. Justice for Uroš. Fans began to protest the decision of the courts, whom they saw as corrupt and protective of ‘their man’ Trajković. These fans did not necessarily call for the freedom of Mišić; there is an acknowledgement (for the most part) that he is guilty of assault or a similar crime. Rather, the appeal was for justice as a result of the perceived harshness and unfairness of the sentence. The basis of the fans’ arguments was thus: can it really be proven conclusively that Mišić was trying to kill Trajković?
The whole furore is entirely bizarre, and pretty much unfathomable. A stream of bluster and misinformation from both sides has made it all but impossible to know who or what to believe. Only a handful of people know exactly what happened, both at the game and in the back-rooms of the courthouse. You can watch the entire incident on YouTube if you so desire, but it wont really help much, such is the chaos of the situation. There are so many bodies and missiles flying about the place it’s not really possible to be clear on what is going on.
Certainly, it’s obvious that there was an assault on Trajković. The policeman was chased and thrown around the terrace by a group of fans. Isolated against a crowd, he lost his shirt, was punched and kicked repeatedly and pelted with missiles before he eventually managed to scramble over a fence to safety. The uniformed police at the game gave him some support, but appeared unwilling to intervene definitively. At one point, Trajković is seen to have taken out a gun and pointed it both at the fans and into the sky. The images of him wandering around the Sever terraces, dazed from the beating and waving a pistol, are terrifying. Later on, in a truly awful moment, a child approached Trajković, who was still bewilderedly holding his gun in his hand, apparently to plead with the policeman for clemency. Whatever happened, and regardless of subsequent events, the man went through a horrific experience. The video below gives you some idea of the madness that unfolded that day.
In the end, Mišić served five-and-a-bit years of his sentence before being released thanks to an amnesty. Shortly after his release, Mišić was once again in the eye of the courts, this time because of an alleged assault on two US marines in a Belgrade nightclub. He was acquitted.
All in all, it’s hard to know what to make of the Mišić-Trajković case. Mišić is certainly no angel, and I’m of the belief that assault of any kind is completely wrong (shocker, right?), but something doesn’t quite add up about the whole situation. For one thing, what on earth was an armed undercover policeman doing amongst the supporters at a Zvezda match? As pointed out elsewhere, there are twenty cameras in the stadium: why the need for such up-close supervision? Was some kind of sting operation underway? And if so, what was the nature of this?
Surely, in a case of alleged attempted murder, there can be no room for doubt when it comes to passing judgement? Was the evidence overwhelmingly against Mišić, or was there ambiguity? If the latter, then what does that say about the final verdict? Pictures show Mišić assaulting Trajković with a flare, but the allegation was that he tried to insert it into the policeman’s mouth. Is this true? Possibly. I have no idea. And that’s kind of the point, really. There’s too much information flying about. A veritable shit-storm of propaganda has been excreted by both parties, leaving us with many more questions than answers.
It’s possible that both Mišić and Trajković have been wronged. The former may have been treated harshly with regard to the nature of the sentence he received, but the latter certainly didn’t deserve to be set upon by a group of men. Thus the question is begged: ultimately, was justice done? Honestly, I don’t know. And neither do you, probably. If you do, tell me. One thing, though, is certain: this was some fucked up shit all round.