News 12 Mar 17

Serbia Marks 14th Anniversary of PM Djindjic’s Murder

Serbia is marking the 14th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic in 2003, with relatives, supporters and political colleagues paying tribute to the slain reformist leader.

Maja Zivanovic

Tributes are being paid in Belgrade on Sunday to commemorate the life of former Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, who was shot dead in a political assassination in 2003 - a murder whose political background has yet to be fully explained.

In what has become an annual series of events, Djindjic’s relatives and friends will lay flowers at his grave and thousands of mourners will join a ‘Walk for Zoran’ through the city centre.

Members of the cabinet that led the country after his assassination will also lay wreaths in front of the government building, and then the current government will lay wreaths by the plaque commemorating Djindjic in the courtyard of the government building where he was shot dead.

Some of his Djindjic’s admirers left emotional tributes on his official Facebook page on Sunday.

“A great person, he was hope and light, but someone chose darkness,” wrote one.

“Fourteen years lost. Everything could have been different, but we have not taken - as Zoran would say - the historic chance to be a modern, European state with the rule of law,” said another.

Djindjic was one of the founders of the Democratic Party, which spearheaded a revolt against the regime of Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000.

He became prime minister in 2001 and played a pivotal role in the arrest and extradition of Milosevic to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague to face war crimes charges.

He was assassinated on March 12, 2003 outside the government building in Belgrade.

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 Djindjic.

Zvezdan Jovanovic, who was in active service in the unit at the time of the assassination, was found guilty of firing the shots that killed him.

Both men are currently serving 40-year prison sentences.

Members of the ministry’s Special Operations Unit were found to have conspired to commit the murder with the help of the Zemun Clan, an organised crime gang, but the political background to the case has remained unclear.

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