Almost three and a half years after the start of the trial for the April 1999 murder of Slavko Ćuruvija, a journalist and owner of newspaper Dnevni Telegraf and magazine Evropljanin, the president of the trial chamber in this process, speaking during the hearing held at the end of September, informed legal teams for the prosecution and the defence to prepare their final statements, because the trial is coming to an end.
Snežana Jovanović, president of the trial chamber that has led this process since June 2015, said that the presenting of material evidence is coming to an end and that she wants to announce the culmination of the trial in a timely manner, in order for participants not to be surprised and, as she said, not to seek extra time to prepare closing statements.
At the three hearings held during the course of September, the defence of the accused, apart from submitting a request for the withdrawal of deputy prosecutor Milenko Mandić, who represents the indictment, continued to contest proposed evidence emerging from the data of mobile telephone base stations. According to the prosecution, this data indicates where the accused were located in the days leading up to the murder and on the day of the murder itself, as well as confirming with whom they communicated via mobile phone.
Following the need in the middle of the year for the Court of Appeal to twice confirm that the data from the base stations – contrary to the defendants’ claims that were accepted by the trial chamber – was obtained in a lawful manner, the defence has now focused on challenging the credibility of the reports that were compiled, based on the analysis of recorded data from the base stations, by the Serbian Security and Information Agency (BIA) in 2012.
Those accused of Ćuruvija’s murder were officials and agents of the intelligence service during the period of the rule of Slobodan Milosević – Radomir Marković, former Chief of the State Security Service (RDB, the predecessor of BIA), Milan Radonjić, head of the RDB’s Belgrade centre (suspected of organising the murder), and Miroslav Kurak, former RDB reserve member, and Ratko Romić, former chief inspector of the RDB second bureau (suspected of committing the murder).
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