Foto: Jana Nikolić, SĆF

Transcript refutes media reports that prosecutor accused the Serbian Government of murdering Slavko Ćuruvija

January 16, 2019

The Commission for Investigating Murders of Journalists announced that at the last hearing in the trial for the murder of journalist Slavko Ćuruvija, the deputy prosecutor for organised crime, Milenko Mandić, did not use his closing statement to accuse the then-Serbian Government of having been the jury when the state’s leadership brought the decision to murder Ćuruvia. Journalist and publisher Slavko Ćuruvija was gunned down in April 1999.

The Commission, which is headed by Veran Matić, reacted to suspicions made public in media reports from the last hearing, which reported that the prosecutor’s words were that Ćuruvija was “murdered at the order of the government leadership, while the jury was the entire (then) Government of Serbia”.

The accuracy of these allegations was also brought into question by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, who stated that “the prosecutor merely repeated what was said by (Aleksandar) Tijanić”. Journalist Aleksandar Tijanić was an associate and friend of Slavko Ćuruvija, after which he served for a long time as the director of Radio-Television Serbia. At the time of Ćuruvija’s murder, Vučić was serving as the Serbian Minister of Information.

The Commission announced that the press “completely reconstructed that part of the closing statement that Prosecutor Mandić began delivering on 25th December last year”, and that “from the original text of the prosecution’s closing statement, the public can assures themselves that the prosecutor did not accuse the Serbian Government of murdering the publisher of publications Evropljanin and Dnevni Telegraf”.

According to the transcript of part of prosecutor Mandić’s closing statement, which was submitted to the media by the Commission, speaking before the court he actually cited Tijanić’s statement “that Slavka Ćuruvija could only have been murdered by the state, because the state then had a monopoly on physical liquidations; that the verdict was brought at the highest place, that it was a collective act, that the composition of the jury corresponded to the composition of the then Government, that the state mechanism for executions organised and carried out this murder”.