Commission for murders of journalists reacts to weekly

The Commission Investigating Murders of Journalists in Serbia has reacted to the weekly Ilustrovna Politika's recent string of articles.

Source: B92

For a month now the campaign of Ilustrovana Politika, adviser to editor-in-chief Goran Kozic and outside collaborator Djordje Martic has been underway, proclaiming as innocent the defendants in case of murder Slavko Curuvija, claiming that there is not enough evidence against them, which would probably mean that the court should released those accused.

The Commission said this on Tuesday in a statement singed by its president, Veran Matic, and continued:

"When the president of the Commission warns of the omission of evidence from this proceeding, the Higher Court, the Bar, the Association of Judges and the Supreme Court of Cassation, assess that this exerts pressure on the court, violates the presumption of innocence, although the assessment of the Commission and its president has been confirmed by the Appellate Court, on three occasions. In the case of this campaign, which runs from issue to issue, there is no reaction. In addition to discrediting, insulting, drawing a target on Ljiljana Smajlovic, the constant thread is the request to release the accused for the murder of Curuvija."

In the latest attack, Kozic and Martic even boasted that they had the tacit support from the state for all these articles, because the state only reacted to the first issue, "The hounds are released," - and only because of the offensive context for the US ambassador, the statement said.

"There is still have a controversial position about one of the most important trials, at least as regards the position of journalists, the impunity of the murder of journalists, but also when it comes to the rule of law. Kozic and Martic discredit journalists who have initiated the process of founding the Commission and accuse them of all kinds of national disasters without proof," it added.

"We are warning that in this way, as well as with the reactions of the institutions of the Higher Court, the Association of Judges, the Supreme Court of Cassation, completely unfounded in the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, the establishment of truth and justice in the case of the murder of Slavko Curuvija is being reduced to for how long will Ljiljana Smajlovic and Veran Matic endure the barrage of fire from the authors from the state-owned Ilustrovana Politika. Is it a precondition for a fair trial that Smajlovic and Matic be liquidated out of this process, as those who are trying to establish all the facts, have all the evidence presented, in a completely open and public manner?," the statement asked, and concluded:

"Taking into consideration the presumption of innocence in the requests for the court procedure to be conducted in the most honest way possible, we demand from all institutions that have reacted without the arguments to the statements of the members of the Commission, to react now, after a month of Ilustovana Politika's campaign to acquit the accused. It is not enough that Suzana Vasiljevic, as a representative of the state, leaves the Management Board. As all the reasons for her leaving the board continues for a month, it is obvious that it is necessary to make some additional effort to prevent further unreserved protection of the accused, all via drawing a target on the representatives of the State Commission Investigating Murders of Journalists."

The front page of the latest issue of Ilustrovana Politika:


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