On anniversary of journalist’s death, no progress in murder investigation

New York, April 11, 2002—On the third anniversary of the murder of journalist Slavko Curuvija, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) remains deeply concerned that the government has made no progress investigating the case.

On April 11, 1999, Curuvija, editor-in-chief of the Belgrade daily Dnevni Telegraf, was gunned down near his home in central Belgrade by two men wearing dark clothing and black masks.

The journalist had previously been a close associate of former President Slobodan Milosevic and his wife, Mirjana Markovic. Later, Curuvija fell out with the Milosevic family. He often criticized Milosevic, both before and during the war in Kosovo.

In an interview with CPJ, Curuvija family lawyer Rajko Danilovic expressed the belief that “the Serbian government knows exactly who ordered and implemented the assassination of Slavko Curuvija.”

In January, government inaction in the case led Danilovic to file a lawsuit against Mirjana Markovic, former secret police chief Rade Markovic (no relation) and former deputy secret police chief Milan Radonjic for ordering the murder. The lawsuit is based on unspecified evidence that Danilovic has examined.

“Journalists in Serbia must not continue to be attacked and murdered with impunity,” said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper. “We urge Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice in a timely manner.”

Another murder case remains unsolved
Officials also seem to be dragging their feet in finding the killers of Milan Pantic, a crime reporter for the Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti. Pantic was murdered on June 11, 2001, by two masked attackers in the central Serbian town of Jagodina.

Pantic had reported extensively on corruption in the local business community and other criminal matters. The journalist’s wife, Zivka Pantic, told Vecernje Novosti that Pantic had received numerous telephone threats in response to his work.