Photo: Perica Gunjic

Retrial for arson attack on journalists’ house will only begin in autumn

June 30, 2022

The start of the retrial in the case of the firebombing of the house of journalist Milan Jovanović, which has been subjected to multiple postponements since last December, has been shifted to September, when three hearings are scheduled to be held, followed by the same number in October.

The last day of June saw the fifth failed attempt to launch the retrial. This time around, the judge merely informed all parties that their four defendants would be tried together, before scheduling the new trial dates. The Court of Appeal in Belgrade recently overturned the verdict against the third defendant, Igor Novaković, who was being tried separately, and ordered a new trial in such a way as to ensure that he will be in the dock alongside Dragoljub Simonović and Vladimir Mihailović. The fourth defendant, Aleksandar Marinković, remains at loose and will be tried in absentia.

Simonović, a former official of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party and a former president of the Belgrade Municipality of Grocka, was first convicted for the arson attack on Jovanović, together with Mihailović and Marinković, in December 2018, with the first instance verdict condemning the three to a total of 12.5 years in prison. However, the Court of Appeal in Belgrade subsequently overturned that verdict and ordered a retrial… that just can’t seem to get started.