New York, December 2, 2021 – In a retrial today, the Higher Court in Belgrade convicted four former Serbian state security officers of the 1999 murder of journalist Slavko Ćuruvija, owner of the mass-circulation Dnevni Telegraf, Serbia’s first private daily, and the weekly magazine Evropljanin, independent regional news website Balkan Insight reported. Ćuruvija, 51, was shot and killed on April 11, 1999, outside his home near the Yugoslav Parliament building.
“We welcome the Serbian court’s decision to convict the four perpetrators responsible for the killing of Slavko Ćuruvija, a journalist and an outspoken critic of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic’s regime, 22 years after his murder,” said CPJ Europe Correspondent Attila Mong, in Berlin. “While the verdict is an important step in ending impunity in this case, Serbian authorities should continue to work toward complete justice by identifying those who ordered the murder and pursuing their prosecution.”
The former head of Serbian state security, Radomir Marković, and security service officer Milan Radonjić each received 30-year prison sentences while secret service agents Ratko Romić and Miroslav Kurak were sentenced to 20 years in prison each, according to Balkan Insight. The indictment said that Marković abetted the crime, while Romić, Radonjić, and Kurak helped organize and execute the murder, which was ordered by an “unknown person,” according to the report.
The court’s ruling can be appealed, according to local news website B92.
The four men were initially convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms on April 5, 2019, but that ruling was overturned on July 15, 2020, by the Belgrade Appeals Court, which ruled that the previous verdicts violated the country’s criminal procedure provisions and ordered a retrial, as CPJ documented at the time.
Ćuruvija was persecuted by Serbian authorities for his journalistic work, according to CPJ research.