Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation faces yet another lawsuit

July 1, 2024

Miroslav Kurak, the second of the four individuals tried for the 1999 murder of journalist and publisher Slavko Ćuruvija and acquitted by the Court of Appeal in February, has sued the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation (SĆF) over a statement in which the Foundation expressed that it disagreed with the decision to acquit the defendants.

This new lawsuit represents continued pressure applied to the Foundation named after the murdered journalist, but also the continued persecution of Slavko Ćuruvija even a quarter of a century after his murder, announced the SĆF.

According to the SĆF the ruling once again showed that the state of Serbia isn’t in a position to confront crimes against journalists and represents continued impunity when it comes to the murders of three journalists (Slavko Ćuruvija, Milan Pantić, Dada Vujasinović) that no one has been convicted of killing.

Previously, Milan Radonjić, who was serving as head of the Belgrade centre of the State Security Department at the time of the murder and was in charge of monitoring Ćuruvija right up until the crime was committed, also filed a lawsuit against the foundation on the same grounds.

Prior to the murder, Ćuruvija was being monitored around the clock by 27 secret service agents, yet the crime remained unsolved.

Miroslav Kurak was accused of being the direct perpetrator of the murder. He and Radonjić are both demanding financial compensation from the SĆF for “damages to their reputation and honour”, i.e. slander.

International organisations that champion the struggle for media freedom – the International Press Institute, European Federation of Journalists, ARTICLE 19 Europe, OBC Transeuropa and Free Press Unlimited – have offered their support to the SĆF, assessing these two lawsuits as undermining the Foundation’s struggle for justice.

A protest was also lodged by the Journalists’ Association of Serbia, which considers that the community of journalists and media companies “have the right” to feel dissatisfied with the verdict and to express disagreement with the actions of the state and the court in the case of Ćuruvija’s murder.