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news 23 Jan 14

Serbia ‘Should Resolve Djindjic Murder to Join EU’

Four MEPs have said that Serbia should uncover the political links behind the 2003 assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic as a precondition for EU membership.

Bojana Barlovac
BIRN
Belgrade

“We strongly believe that the rule of law in Serbia will not be established until the political background of the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic is fully and comprehensively explored,” said a letter sent to the European Commission by MEPs Jelko Kacin, Arnaud Danjean, Maria Eleni Koppa and Marije Cornelissen.

The four European parliamentarians said that uncovering the full details about Djindjic’s killing should be included as a precondition in Chapter 23 of the body of EU legislation that Serbia has to comply with before accession – the chapter dealing with the rule of law.

Djindjic, who played a pivotal role in the arrest and extradition of former leader Milosevic to The Hague to face war crimes charges, was killed in front of the government building in Belgrade in March 2003.

Milorad Ulemek, alias Legija, the former commander of the interior ministry’s Special Operations Unit, was found guilty of organising the group that conspired to kill him. However, the political background to the killing remains unclear.

The MEPs also said they believed that solving the murders of journalists’ during Milosevic’s rule in the 1990s should also be included in the same chapter.

The four lawmakers said that the EU’s negotiations with Serbia were of historical importance and because of that, the establishment of genuine rule of law is important for the entire region which continues to suffer the consequences of the 1990s conflicts.

One of the four, Kacin, is the European parliament’s rapporteur for Serbia.

Their letter was sent after Serbia on Tuesday held its first intergovernmental conference with the EU that officially marked the beginning of accession talks.

Before it can join the EU, Serbia has to close 35 chapters covering all aspects of government and economic activity as well as the sensitive issue of Kosovo.

Only once all 35 chapters are closed can a membership treaty be signed by Serbia and EU member states. Serbia will become an EU member state once the treaty is ratified by all the parliaments of the member states. 

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