Serbian Constitutional Court bans the National Front
The Serbian Constitutional Court has made the neo-Nazi organization Nacionalni stroj (National Front) illegal, labeling its activities unconstitutional. According to reports by the B92 television station, the court banned the promotion of its ideas and any kind of group activity by its members. The court also tasked the Serbian executive branch with using its forces to ensure the verdict is implemented.
The National Front is a semi-secret organization in Serbia with many adherents among extremists and violent football "fans". Their members profess anti-Semitic and militant nationalist opinions. In recent years they have committed many acts of violence and pogroms. Many of the organization's activists have been given lengthy prison sentences.
Serbian Justice Minister Snežana Malović welcomed the Constitutional Court verdict. "The Nazi ideology is unacceptable to our democratic society and runs counter to our cultural and historical heritage," she said.
National Front leader Goran Davidović was sentenced last year to one year in prison but fled to Germany. Authorities there apprehended the neo-Nazi, known by the nickname "Hitler", and escorted him back to Belgrade.
Serbian football "fan clubs" are known to have neo-Nazis and other anti-Western extremists among them. The growth in their influence has been attributed to the economic crisis and high unemployment after the Balkan wars of the 1990s.