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news 24 Sep 12

Serbia to Probe Mystery Killings of Journalists

Media watchdogs welcome government's decision to set up international commission to investigate unsolved murders of reporters in Serbia.

Belgrade

Serbia's new goverment has decided to set up an "International Commission" to investigate the unsolved murders of journalists in the country.

The Commission will primarily investigate the killings of three prominent journalists, Dada Vujasinovic, Slavko Curuvija and Milan Pantic.

A publisher and journalist, Curuvija was shot in the head on April 11, 1999, while coming back home from an Easter walk.

The killers and those who directed them have never been identified, despite promises made by every government since Slobodan Milosevic was ejected from office in 2000.

Milosevic and his wife, Mirjana Markovic, were widely believed to have been involved in Curuvija's death.

During the March-June 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia, Curuvija blamed the Milosevic regime for the North Atlantic Alliance's military intervention.

Vujasinovic, a reporter for Duga Magazine, was killed 14 years ago. Her death was initially called a suicide, but earlier this week a new ruling said the case would be reopened as a suspected homicide.

Pantic, a local journalist from the central town of Jagodina, was shot on the doorstep of his home in 2001.

The task of the Commission will be analysing all former investigations, ascertaining the facts behind their failures, and creating grounds for future investigations.

Apart from representatives of the security services, the prosecution and the media, international investigators will take part in the Commission's work.

Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, welcomed the establishment of the new body and expressed the hope that it will yield results.

"Families and friends of killed journalists and society as whole need to see justice being served," she said.

"As long as journalists are afraid for their lives and the lives of their families while doing their job, we do not live in a free society," she added.

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