The Coalition for Media Freedom and Safe Journalists Network are disappointed by the decision of the Court of Appeal to acquit the accused for the murder of Slavko Ćuruvija due to a lack of evidence.
The only case of the murder of a journalist in Serbia that reached the court, did not end with a final conviction. With this verdict, the state shows that it is not capable or does not want to solve cases of murder of journalists. Also, a message is sent to journalists that the state will not protect them.
The Court of Appeal in Belgrade announced the second-instance decision it made in April last year, acquitting the defendants in the case of the murder of journalist Slavko Curuvija. Due to the lack of direct and indirect evidence that would reliably confirm that the defendants Marković, Radonjić, Kurak and Romić are the perpetrators of this criminal act, the Court finds that the accusations have not been proven beyond doubt, and by accepting the appeals of the defense and partially accepting the appeal of the Prosecutor’s Office, it has changed the first-instance verdict by acquitting the accused.
By the first-instance verdict of the High Court in Belgrade, from December 2, 2021, Radomir Marković and Milan Radonjić were sentenced to prison terms of 30 years each for the crime of aggravated murder, while the district Miroslav Kurak and Ratko Romić were sentenced to prison terms of 20 years each.
Slavko Ćuruvija was murdered on April 11, 1999, the trial began only in 2015. We waited for a final verdict for almost nine years, that is, it was passed a quarter of a century after the crime was committed.
We remind you that on November 9, 2023, the Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime (TOK) returned the case of the murder of Milan Pantić to the Higher Public Prosecutor’s Office in Jagodina and declared itself incompetent. Referral of this case to TOK was one of the recommendations of the Commission for Investigating the Murder of Journalists.
Pristina – Skopje – Sarajevo – Zagreb – Belgrade – Podgorica, 02.02.2024.
Coalition for Media Freedom: Association of Media, Association of Online Media (AOM), the Independent Association of Journalists of Vojvodina (NDNV), Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS), Business Association of Local and Independent Media “Local Press”, the Slavko Curuvija Foundation and Trade union for culture, art and media “Nezavisnost”
SafeJournalists Network: Association of Journalists of Kosovo; Association of Journalists of Macedonia; BH Journalists Association; Croatian Journalists’ Association; Independent Journalists Association of Serbia and Trade Union of Media of Montenegro