February 5, 2024

05.02.2024 – SEEMO About Verdict in Slavko Ćuruvija Murder Case

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is expressing surprise over the recent verdict that was published by the Court of Appeals in Belgrade, Serbia, on 2 February 2024, regarding the murder case of Serbian journalist Slavko Ćuruvija. Despite two prior court convictions resulting in significant prison sentences, all were acquitted in this latest ruling. In 2021, a special court sentenced four former members of the Serbian intelligence services, to in total 100 years in prison sentences.

According to the Court of Appeals, no direct or indirect evidence would reliably confirm that the defendants had carried out the killing. This decision is a final decision according to legal regulations in Serbia. For SEEMO is a surprise, that different courts in Serbia can have so different decisions.

Slavko Ćuruvija, born on 9 August 1949, was a Serbian journalist, known for his outspoken criticism of the regime of former Serbian President Slobodan Milošević and his wife Mirjana Marković. He founded the independent newspaper “Dnevni Telegraf” and later magazine “Evropljanin,” both of which gained a reputation for their critical stance towards the ruling regime of Slobodan Milošević.

On 11 April 1999, Ćuruvija was brutally assassinated in front of his apartment building in the center of Belgrade, Serbia. The killing happened after pro-government media outlets in Serbia had accused Ćuruvija of being a “traitor”. The today Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, served between 1998 and 2000 as Minister for Information under Slobodan Milošević. Serbia is today an EU candidate country. This court decision is leaving the 1999 murder of Slavko Ćuruvija unresolved, as one of three unsolved cases of murder of journalists in Serbia: Radislava Dada Vujasinović from the magazine Duga was found dead on 9 April 1994 in her apartment in New Belgrade and journalist Milan Pantić from Jagodina was killed in front of his apartment on 11 June 2001.

The recent verdict comes after years of efforts by the Government-appointed Commission for the Investigation of Unresolved Murders of Journalists and the Prosecutor’s Office to bring resolution to the case.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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