The judge presiding over the retrial procedure in the case of the murder of journalist and publisher Slavko Ćuruvija has scheduled the sentencing of the four accused former members of the State Security Service for 2nd December.
The four defendants were initially sentenced to a total of 100 years imprisonment under the first instance verdict of April 2019, but that verdict was overturned by the Court of Appeal and a retrial was subsequently ordered and commenced on 5th October last year.
In the final stages of the retrial, three of the accused – Radomir Marković, Milan Radonjić and Ratko Romić – used their closing arguments to deny their guilt in the 11th April 1999 murder of Ćuruvija, as they’d done in the previous trial. The fourth defendant, Miroslav Kurak, has been on the run for years and is being tried in absentia.
The prosecutor used his own closing argument to request that each of the accused receive 40-year sentences.
Of the 39 hearings scheduled throughout the course of the retrial, only every other one was held, while just less than two full days (47 hours) of court time was recorded at the so-called Special Court in Belgrade during the 386 days allocated for the trial. The initial trial procedure lasted a whopping 1,405 days.
Executive Director of the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation, Ivana Stevanović, said that all of this is really devastating and that it is now vital for this case to finally receive its epilogue.
“As long as this case remains open, we have a situation of impunity for the perpetrators, which sends a clear message to all journalists that they are not secure and that the State and judicial apparatus are not there to protect them.”
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