The Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation welcomes the court’s decision to again convict those accused of killing Slavko Ćuruvija

December 2, 2021

We welcome the decision of the Trial Chamber of the Special Court in Belgrade to again convict former senior officials of the State Security Department for murdering Slavko Ćuruvija.

Slavko Ćuruvija, a journalist and the publisher of daily newspapers Dnevni Telegraf and Evropljanin, was murdered on 11th April, 1999, during the time of the NATO bombing campaign of the then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Almost 23 years after the murder and after a year of a retrial before the first instance court, Radomir Marković has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, Milan Radonjić to 30 years in prison, Ratko Romić to 20 and Miroslav Kurak, who remains at-large, to 20 years.

It is our hope that today’s verdict represents a step towards final justice in the “Ćuruvija” case and that the Court of Appeal will confirm the decision of the trail chamber of the Special Court.

This decision once again confirms unequivocally that the murder of Slavko Ćuruvija was orchestrated by the state through the instrumentalising of the Department of State Security. That’s why it represents an important step in confronting the politically motivated crimes of the Slobodan Milošević regime, but also criminalised structures within the state apparatus.

Independent journalists in Serbia are still today working under very difficult conditions, facing constant threats, attacks and pressure. With today’s verdict, the trial chamber sent a message that perpetrators of attacks against journalists, due to words spoken publicly, are not untouchable, even several decades after the fact. We hope that this decision will also mark a turning point in the judicial system’s attitude towards journalists who fall victim to violence.

We expect that, following today’s decision, there will be no more of the senseless procrastinating in this case that we’ve witnessed over the last seven years, in two first-instance trials.

We would remind everyone that appeals against the 2019 first-instance verdict of the trial chamber were filed with the Court of Appeal by both the defence and the prosecutor. The Court of Appeal overturned that initial verdict in July 2020, sending the case back for a retrial. The repeated procedure began in October last year and all parties involved in the case stuck with their previous claims.