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Justice minister silent on calls to probe murder of editor Slavko Curuvija; 15-year "suicide" death of journalist Dada Vujasinovic reclassified as murder

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is an 8 April 2009 press release by IPI and the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an IPI affiliate:

10 Years Later, Brazen Killing of Serbian Editor Remains Unsolved

VIENNA, 8 April 2009 - A decade after the murder of outspoken Serbian editor Slavko Curuvija, the International Press Institute and the South East Europe Media Organisation today again called for justice for the journalist, whose killers have not been found.

Curuvija was gunned down on Serbian Orthodox Easter Sunday. In the six months prior to his death, the journalist's relationship with the Slobodan Milosevic regime deteriorated noticeably. Just days before he was shot on 11 April 1999, Mirjana Markovic, wife of the former president, branded him "state enemy Number One".

Last month, IPI and SEEMO urged the Serbian Minister of Justice to intensify the investigation into Curuvija's death, but there was no response from the ministry. Curuvija's case is one of 10 highlighted in IPI's Justice Denied Campaign.

"With each passing year the trail that could lead to Curuvija's murderers grows colder," IPI Director David Dadge said. "If the authorities do not increase their efforts to thoroughly investigate the case, they may soon be unable to find his killers and Serbia will be left with the stigma of the unsolved murder of a courageous and dedicated reporter."

Curuvija is not the only journalist whose murder remains unsolved in Serbia. Little progress has been reported in the investigation into the 2001 killing of Belgrade newspaper reporter Milan Pantic. It has been fifteen years since the death of Dada Vujasinovic, a magazine reporter who covered the 1990s Balkan conflicts and criminal activity in Serbia. She was found dead in her Belgrade apartment on 9 April 1994. In January of this year, Serbian officials finally deemed her death a murder, having previously insisted that the young journalist had committed suicide.

"This week marks two very sad anniversaries for journalism in Serbia," said Oliver Vujovic, secretary-general of SEEMO, IPI's regional affiliate. "It is time for state authorities to step up their efforts to solve all of these killings. Letting the perpetrators get away with murder will only further the impression that Serbian authorities have little interest in protecting journalists who dare to report openly."

Updates the Curuvija case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/101491

Updates the Vujasinovic case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/95706

For further information on the Pantic case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/75020

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