By Miloš Mitrović – Belgrade
The legal case of Rea Matijević, three-year old girl that lives with her escaping violence mother in Ljig, 85 kilometers from Belgrade, has became the matter of interest of the Serbian government. According to the ruling of the Valjevo Municipal Court, Rea should be transferred to her father in Zagreb, Croatia. However, after the protest organized in Ljig, where locals have demanded the child to stay with her mother, top Serbian officials got involved in the case.
“Rea will stay with her mother in Serbia”, Prime Minister Ivica Dačić told Saturday’s edition of “Politika” daily. “I will personally engage the interest of the child to be primarily respected in this case and in similar situations as well. The child should be protected and little Rea will stay with her mom”.
Rea`s father Robert Matijević, Croatian citizen that live in Zagreb, should take guardianship for his daughter, as it had been stipulated in Valjevo court`s ruling. Rea`s takeover has been scheduled for 17 October. Robert Matijević has come to Ljig accompanied by the representative of the Croatian Embassy in Serbia. However, Rea`s mother Nataša Matijević did not appear in the local Social Centre, as well as Rea.
At the same time, the citizens of Ljig organized the rally protesting against the Rea`s transfer to her father. Right-wing political organization “Dveri” also took part at the protest demanding Serbian government to protect Rea and her mother.
While she was still living in Zagreb with her husband, Nataša Matijević moved to safe house due to home violence. Zagreb`s court decided to grant the guardianship of Rea to her mother before she get divorced. However, Nataša subsequently came to her hometown Ljig together with her daughter without the consent of Robert Matijević.
By doing this, she breached the Hague conventions that suggest the child has been abducted. Namely, Rea was born in Croatia and she has Croatian citizenship. “The interest of child has been forgotten, nonetheless”, “Politika” reported adding that Rea is attached to her mother.
Earlier this week, Serbian Justice Minister Nikola Selaković said that “Serbian judiciary will do what it can to keep Rea at safe, taking care of the child`s best interest”. Justice Ministry recommended to Municipal Court in Valjevo to resolve the case by the agreement. The court will consider the recommendation as early as next week.