16 April 2004


RSF calls for justice on fifth anniversary of journalist Slavko Curuvija's murder

Incident details

Slavko Curuvija



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(RSF/IFEX) - Five years after the April 1999 murder of journalist Slavko Curuvija in Belgrade, RSF has reiterated its call for justice for the slain newspaper editor. Curuvija's killers remain at large although they were reportedly identified by an eyewitness. The police say they do not have enough evidence to indict the suspects.

"We hope that your government's declared commitment to identify and punish those responsible for this murder was more than just an electoral promise. Slavko Curuvija's family and colleagues in Serbia and abroad ask that no effort be spared until justice is done," RSF said in a letter to Interior Minister Dragan Jocic.

Several officials recently commented on the case. Former deputy interior minister Nenad Milic said an eyewitness had identified the killers, but his successor, Miroslav Milosevic, said the police had no "valid evidence" against the suspects. Police Inspector General Vladimir Bozovic said a special team was currently working on the case.

On 9 December 2003, a few days before legislative elections, the Office of the Special Prosecutor and the Organised Crime Bureau said an eyewitness had formally identified two persons suspected of the murder, but their identities could not be revealed. Since then, the police have not provided any further information on this lead.

Under the state of emergency declared on 12 March 2003, following the assassination of prime minister Zoran Djindjic, deputy state prosecutor Milan Sarajlic was suspended and arrested along with other judicial officials thought to be linked with underworld figures.

The Interior Ministry said that during his detention, Sarajlic confessed to working with the Zemun gang, a powerful criminal group, and actively obstructing the Curuvija murder probe. State prosecutor Sinisa Simic, who was in charge of the inquiry, was dismissed on 21 March 2003.

On 11 April 1999, Curuvija was shot dead by two masked men as he arrived in front of his Belgrade home with his wife. He was editor-in-chief of the newspapers "Dnevni Telegraf" and "Evropljanin" and had been frequently harassed for his articles criticising former president Slobodan Milosevic's regime.

On 6 April 1999, a few days before his murder, Curuvija was accused of being a "traitor" and favouring the NATO military offensive in an article that appeared in "Ekspres Politika" newspaper. On 14 April 2001, Djordje Martic, the paper's former editor-in-chief, acknowledged that the article was written on the orders of Milosevic's wife, Mirjana Markovic.


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