Amnesty International criticises Serbia over situation in the media, report partially incorrect

March 1, 2017

The annual report of organisation Amnesty International noted that journalists’ associations in Serbia have reported dozens of attacks and threats against journalists in 2016, while the trial for the murder of journalist Slavko Ćuruvija is being stalled due to the failure of a “key witness” to turn up.

While the report does not specify the name of the witness in question, Todor Gardos, researcher of this organisation for the Balkans/EU, subsequently explained that they were thinking of the former commander of the Special Operations Unit of the State Security Services, Milorad Ulemek, aka Legija.

“I can confirm we have no knowledge of further witnesses and the entry refers to Milorad Ulemek. The correct wording should probably be “stalled until September”, when he finally appeared at court”, he says.

From the Higher Court in Belgrade it was said that A.I.’s statements are incorrect; that all witnesses respond to the court’s summons and that so far more than 60 of them have been questioned.

Of the 50 hearings scheduled to date, they claim, only one has been postponed, so that “in the noted case there is no delay”.

Both defence and prosecution lawyers agree that there have been delays and that the investigation has been obstructed, considering that Ćuruvija was killed in 1999, indictments against four employees of the State Security Services were filed in 2014, following Legija’s testimony to the prosecution, and the trial began a year later.