"JSO rebellion halted Curuvija murder investigation"

Gradimir Milic, a former employee of the former State Security (RDB) service, this week testified before the Special Court in the Curuvija murder trial.

Source: Cenzolovka
Slavko Curuvija (Curuvija Foundation)
Slavko Curuvija (Curuvija Foundation)

At the time of the murder, Milic worked in the 5th (analytics) Department of the Belgrade RDB Center.

Former Chief of RDB Radomir Markovic and former chief of the Belgrade Center Milan Radonjic are on trial accused of organizing the 1999 murder of Slavko Curuvija, a journalist and publisher.

Reserve member of RDB Miroslav Kurak, who is at large, is accused of shooting Curuvija, while Ratko Romic, the chief intelligence inspector of the 2nd RDB Department, is charged with hitting Branka Prpa on the head with his pistol. Prpa was with Curuvija when he was killed in the street, in front of his apartment in Belgrade.

Testifying this week, Milic said he would not present any speculation about the murder, but added there was "one man who knows everything about it - and that's Milorad Bracanovic." Bracanovic was at the time the counterintelligence officer in the Special Operations Unit (JSO). After the rebellion of this unit organized in November 2001 he became the deputy chief of the RDB. He is one of the witnesses who will testify during the trial.

Milic claimed that Bracanovic, as the JSO counterintelligence officer "had to have known where each member of the unit was at any moment" - and so he had to have known where Kurak was. Later during the questioning Kurak's lawyer Stevan Protic claimed that Kurak, at that time, was not a member of the unit.

Although Milic often mixed up dates and names of his bosses, he did not claim to know anything about the murder of Slavko Curuvija, and was certain that he had never seen his dossier. After the ouster of Slobodan Milosevic on October 5, 2000, he was called to the RDB headquarters and given the job of reviewing a numebr of reports, Milic told the court.

When Judge Snezana Jovanovic asked about the relevance of this to the Curuvija murder trial, the witness explained that some of the reports referred to operations dubbed "Sumadija," "Kaktus," and "Macva" - which RDB carried out after the formation of the government of Zoran Djindjic, and which investigated the agency's actions while Milosevic was in power.

These operations had previously been brought up during the trial. "Operation Macva" investigated the circumstances of Curuvija's murder.

But Milic said that this went on until the JSO rebellion, which he said took place "in 2000."

The witness also told the court that Ratko Romic warned Miroslava Kurako in 2001 not to return to Serbia because he would be arrested.

"Romic called Kurak in Cyprus and told him: 'Do not come to Serbia under any circumstances, you will be arrested', and, 'Cyprus is a small, run to another, bigger country'. Kurak went to Geneva, where he bought the latest Mercedes at the Motor Show, and then went to Ukraine," Milic said.

Milic also claimed that Kurak never returned to Serbia after that, but Kurak's lawyer reminded the court that his client was arrested in Serbia in 2003 during Operation Saber.


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