Ex-FM Jeremic gives statement in death of guardsmen case

Former Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic on Saturday spent a little under two and a half hours giving his statement at the SBPOK.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug

Jeremic was asked to appear before the Interior Ministry's Service for the Fight Against Organized Crime (SBPOK) as a citizen, while his statement concerned the 2004 killing of two members of the Yugoslav Army (VJ) Guard unit - Dragan Jakovljevic and Drazen Milovanovic - in an army barracks in Belgrade's Topcider neighborhood.

Last week, the lawyer representing their families asked the prosecution to summon Jeremic, who was in 2004 an adviser to then Serbian President Boris Tadic.

The lawyer, Olgica Batic, said that Jeremic "knew about the deaths before then army chief-of-staff Branko Krga," and that Krga said it was precisely Jeremic who informed him about the incident.

Jeremic addressed journalists as he was leaving the SBPOK premises on Saturday to say he believes he is being pressured at a time when he is considering his future steps in politics.

Jeremic said he was not in his apartment on Friday when the police came, while "some media were informed about it in real time," adding that he came to say everything he knew about the tragedy.

"That's not much, the conversation effectively lasted only 15 minutes... we spent the rest of the time working on the statement technically and arranging what will later go to all those to whom it will go," he added.

Jeremic believes it is of enormous importance, above all for the families, to completely shed light on the case - "but also because of the Serbian Army's reputation, and for the sake of our entire society."

He added that he "could not contribute to the investigation significantly" but "hoped that other will be able to, and that the case will be solved."

"I have been here all these years - today I found out that the prosecutor asked for me to make a statement as a citizen six months ago. Why is this happening precisely today, why is it happening in this way," Jeremic asked.

"I think this is an attempt to pressure and intimidate at a time when it is no secret I am considering my future steps in domestic politics. I most certainly won't give up on my plans. I have nothing to fear, but I'm not quite sure that everyone else can say the same, when it comes to my future political engagement," Jeremic concluded, refusing to take reporters' questions.


Commenting on these developments on Sunday, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said he would describe the case "as a circus show - if only it wasn't so sad and difficult for the parents."

Touring a Belgrade Waterfront construction site, Vucic told reporters it was "ridiculous that it was said Jeremic received his summons the first day he returned from America, while 24 hours later he said he was here all the time, and asked why he wasn't summoned earlier."

According to Vucic, it was "known that Jeremic was a spoiled soldier who had to go to former President Boris Tadic every day."

"As an ordinary private, how could he receive that information before the chief of the general staff? Did you say they came to arrest you, and they didn't? Why did you lie? This is all a circus show," said the prime minister.

Vucic also revealed that he "knew in advance" Jeremic would "refer to the late Miki Rakic, just as now those others are referring to the late Aleksandar Nikitovic."

He said his government recently supported Jeremic's candidacy for "the president of the world" - i.e., the post of the UN secretary-general - and that this support came "because he is from Serbia, although he stood no chance without the backing of the big powers, because of shifty politics."

"If we failed to support him then, you'd have said that was on purpose, which is not true," Vucic has been quoted as saying.

On December 8, Vucic met with the Jakovljevic and Milovanovic families and promised that elevant state bodies would investigate all the facts in connection with the Topcider tragedy.

A military investigation originally concluded that the event was a case of murder-suicide, while the so-called independent state commission claimed that they had been killed by a third person, Beta reported last week.

Earlier the same week, the media were presented with a 3D forensic analysis of the event, according to which the guardsmen were killed.


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