20 years later, murder of journalist still unsolved

Journalist Dada Vujasinović was murdered 20 years ago. She was found dead in her apartment in Belgrade on April 8, in 1994.

Source: B92
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At the time, her death was officially ruled a suicide. The truth about her murder is being searched for for two decades.

Repeated expert analyses carried out in early 2008 rejected the suicide version, and the District Prosecutor's Office in January 2009 launched preliminary criminal proceedings for murder.

Exactly one year ago the Commission for Investigating Murders of Journalists said that in the process of solving the murder, foreign experts in ballistics and forensics had been engaged, and that communications with the Institute for Security in Wiesbaden was being established.

The Commission found evidence in the case which was listed as lost since 1999.

"In the past 20 years since the death of Dada Vujasinović a series of mistakes have been made in the investigation by various experts. In addition, the police misplaced forensic material collected at the scene and during the autopsy. Several prosecutors, lawyers have changed... Since 2008, when the death Dade Vujasinović was, from the conclusion that it was a suicide, defined as murder by the prosecution, there has been a series of legal actions that have brought more controversy than they did to clarify the case," says Veran Matić, the president of the Commission.

"The Commission started out to determine how the evidence from the crime scene and the autopsy was lost. Analyzing the line of accountability, a bag with this material was found in the closet of an inspector who worked on the case and who has since died. The Commission entrusted the second forensic opinion to a neutral credible foreign institution and therefore this package is kept intact in order to transfer it for expertise," says Matić.

He stated that the Commission sent a request to the National Forensic Institute in The Hague to do the analysis, and several more people that possibly have some knowledge will also be questioned.

"We tried to hire the Institute in Wiesbaden. After a few months we have received a response that it was their assessment there was not enough necessary elements on the basis of which they could make a credible analysis. We contacted the FBI, which has the most relevant laboratory and professionals. The application is taken into consideration, but it has been announced to us that we would have to wait due to work overload. The National Forensic Institute in The Hague confirmed that they could perform a second analysis when it comes to ballistics and forensic work. We contacted the prosecutor in the Netherlands, which on behalf of the EU is in Belgrade as technical assistance to our justice system and we made agreement on preliminary actions," said Matić.

According to him, the Commission expects that after Easter the next meeting could follow with the Institute in The Hague during which a plan of their activities would be made.

"I believe that we are now on the road to reach credible results of the second opinion. In parallel, the prosecution will take statements from persons recommended by the family, for which there are indications that they might have some information, regarding their public statements on different occasions."

Radislava Dada Vujasinović was born in 1964 in Bosnia. She worked as a Privredni Pregled journalist before joining the magazine Duga.

She was given the Svetozar Marković award of the Association of Journalists of Serbia for her reporting from the Slavonia front in 1993.

Because of her investigative articles about ties between crime and politics, she received threats and was blackmailed and sued. The book "Testimonies from a dishonored country" - a compilation of her articles, interviews and private letters was published in 1995 in Toronto, Canada.

Incorruptible and independent, she did not want her, as she said, sacrificed generation to allow history to be forged again, especially by those "who understood war and portrayed it as a good time and adventure, knowing they have a place to return to when they get bored by it."

The official version of her death on April 8, 1994, was that she committed suicide by shooting herself in the chest with a hunting shotgun. Even after 20 years, her murder has not been solved.

Four years ago, the Association of Vojvodina Journalists and other press associations supported the initiative name a street in Zrenjanin after her.

"Even after two decades competent state authorities do not have the answer to the question who killed Dada Vujasinović. At the same time, it is not know who obstructed the investigation and was hiding criminals during all these years. The NUNS will never give up the fight for the truth about the murder of our colleague," said a statement from this journalist association.

The Commission for Investigating Murders of Journalists which was established in 2013 has renewed investigations into the cases of Dada Vujasinović, Slavko Ćuruvija and Milan Pantićc, and is also investigating the case of the death of 16 RTS employees during the NATO bombing in 1999.

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