Serbia court docket acquits 4 former state safety companies members in 1999 homicide of journalist Slavko Ćuruvija – JURIST

The Belgrade Courtroom of Attraction in Serbia acquitted Friday 4 ex-members of the previous Republic of Yugoslavia safety companies of the homicide of journalist Slavko Ćuruvija.

Ćuruvija was a journalist and the proprietor of the primary personal every day newspaper in Serbia, Dnevni Telegraf. He was shot and killed exterior of his residence on April 11, 1999. This occurred simply days after he was accused by pro-government media retailers that he was a traitor and liable for NATO’s assaults on Yugoslavia that occurred in the identical 12 months. His homicide was alleged by police to have been an assassination deliberate by former Serbian spy company chief Radmoir Markovic. Markovic died in 2006.

The 4 ex-members of the safety service have been arrested in 2014 by the Prosecutor’s Workplace for Organised Crime. On June 1, 2015, the case started, and the prosecutors introduced their case that the accused have been a part of an organized crime group that had allegedly been given orders from greater within the authorities construction to kill Ćuruvija.

After a delayed trial, they have been convicted in 2019 for his or her involvement within the homicide. Radomir Markovic, the ex-chief of the State Safety Service and the top of Belgrade’s intelligence department Milan Radonjic have been every sentenced to 30 years in jail for insigating a grave homicide. The 2 different members, Miroslav Kurak and Ratko Romic have been additionally sentenced to twenty years every for carrying it out.

Following this, the court docket allowed an enchantment to research alleged violations of felony process which commenced on March 6, 2023.

On Friday, the court docket revealed that their determination to acquit was primarily based on unreliable and inadequate proof to assist the allegations introduced by the prosecution:

Within the absence of direct and oblique proof that might reliably affirm that the defendants Markovic, Radonjic, Kurak and Romic [are] the perpetrators of this felony act, [it] finds that the allegations of the accusation haven’t been confirmed past a doubt.

The Committee to Defend Journalists (CPJ) released an announcement condemning the Belgrade court docket’s determination. CPJ group’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, Gulnoza Mentioned, described the choice as a “large blow to justice and to all those that work tirelessly for many years to finish impunity within the killing.”

Established in 1981, CPJ  “promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the best of journalists to report the information safely and with out worry of reprisal. CPJ protects the free movement of reports and commentary by taking motion wherever journalists are beneath risk.”

Based on CPJ analysis, 2,287 journalists and media employees have been killed, and a couple of,232 have been imprisoned since 1992. The proper to freedom of expression is a human proper enshrined in Article 19 of the Common Declaration of Human Rights.

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