05. apr 2019.

OSCE Media Freedom Representative welcomes court decision in Serbia convicting former state officials for killing of journalist Slavko Ćuruvija

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, welcomed today’s court decision to convict the perpetrators responsible for killing one of the most prominent and critical journalists in Serbia,Slavko Ćuruvija.

The High Court in Belgrade sentenced former state security officials Radomir Marković and Milan Radonjić to 30 years in prison, and Ratko Romić and Miroslav Kurak to 20 years in prison for organizing and taking part in the murder of Ćuruvija, former owner of the newspaper Dnevni Telegrafand the weekly magazine Evropljanin, who was gunned down on 11 April 1999 in Belgrade.

“I welcome this first instance court decision against those who committed this heinous crime 20 years ago. Slavko Ćuruvijawas a courageous journalist, not afraid to write about sensitive issues during very turbulent times in Serbia. He paid the highest price for his journalistic work and that is why it is of utmost importance that justice is served. This long-awaited ruling is significant, as it shows that there can be no impunity even for crimes committed 20 years ago,” Désir stated.

The Representative noted that his Office has been following the case closely for many years, stressing that impunity for crimes against journalists is unacceptable and constitutes asecond crime against them.

“This decision needs to be used as positive momentum, and I urge the Serbian authorities to finally shed light on other killings of prominent journalists, including Dada Vujasinovićin 1994 and Milan Pantić in 2001,” Désir said.

Désir recalled the Safety of Journalists Decision adopted at the Ministerial Council in Milan that calls on OSCE participating States to “take effective measures to end impunity for crimes committed against journalists, by ensuring accountability as a key element in preventing future attack…”.

The Ministerial Decision on Safety of Journalists is available at https://www.osce.org/chairmanship/406538

The Representative’s previous public statements on SlavkoĆuruvija’s case are available at https://www.osce.org/representative-on-freedom-of-media/377563https://www.osce.org/fom/232486,https://www.osce.org/fom/100637https://www.osce.org/fom/110303

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