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news 27 May 14

Montenegrin Editor's 2004 Murder Still Unsolved

On the tenth anniversary of the murder of Dusko Jovanovic, editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Dan, the authorities have still not found those responsible.

Dusica Tomovic

Jovanović, editor-in-chief and owner of the daily Dan and well known for his critical reporting, was shot dead leaving his office in Podgorica on 27 May 2004. Prior to his death, Jovanović received numerous death threats.

Damir Mandić was jailed for 18 years in 2012 as an accomplice to the crime, but remains the only perpetrator to be convicted. The masterminds behind the murder are still at large.

The only step up in a decade-long investigation is the announcement by the state prosecutor that the investigation has been reopened and that several people have been interrogated.

In February, prosecutors in Podgorica relaunched a probe into the unsolved murder. It resumed with the questioning of several top policemen, including the former head of the Podgorica force, Milan Vijanovic, and senior officers Milan Tomic and Tihomir Gacevic.

The prosecution said it will request additional information from former Interior Minister Andrija Jovicevic, investigating judge Miroslav Basovic and Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Dusko Markovic, who was intelligence chief in 2004.

On Monday, state prosecutor Veselin Vuckovic said the prosecution had checked every detail of the investigation into the murder.

"The prosecution will not stop there, it will go all the way until the case murder is fully solved and all of the participants in the crime are identified," Vuckovic told Dan.

The head of a government probe into attacks on journalists, Nikola Markovic, on Monday accused the authorities of "unwillingness or incompetence" in resolving the death of the only journalist to be murdered in Montenegro.

"The fact that even a decade on from this crime we do not know either who was behind the murder, or the killers, obliges us to insist that those responsible for this kind of situation  bear... professional and moral responsibility," Markovic said in a statement.  

The OSCE representative on media freedom, Dunja Mijatovic, has urged the authorities to end the apparent climate of impunity for attacks on journalists.

“Acts of violence against members of the media not only threaten the victims themselves, but they also have a direct impact on media freedom in the country,” Mijatović said.

“I urge the authorities to ensure a thorough and transparent investigation to identify those behind the crime, and bring them to justice,” Mijatović said.

In December 2013, under the auspices of the Interior Ministry, the government established a Special Commission for Monitoring Investigations of Cases of Attacks on Journalists.

"I welcome the establishment of this commission and hope that it will yield results. I will continue to monitor the case of Jovanović and all other cases in OSCE countries where journalists have been killed in relation to their work,” Mijatović said.

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