24 years since death of journalist Dada Vujasinovic

The Association of Journalists of Serbia (UNS) reminded on Sunday that 24 years had passed since the death of journalist Radislava Dada Vujasinovic.

Source: UNS
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(Thinkstock)
(Thinkstock)

As the UNS has been told by the High Public Prosecutor's Office, the case concerning Vujasinovic's death remains in the pre-trial phase.

"Only after the preliminary investigation procedure is over the prosecutor will be able to evaluate whether and in whose actions contained the characteristics of the existence of a criminal offense for which prosecution is undertaken ex officio, and in what way and in what direction possible further procedure will be directed. The status of this case is still open and active and no decision has been made in any direction, but work is being done actively to determine all relevant facts and circumstances of the event," the UNS was told by the High Public Prosecutor's Office.

A Dutch forensic institute located The Hague, to which the Justice Ministry sent the evidence in September 2015, did not determine the cause and manner of the death of the journalist, who worked for the Duga magazine.

The conclusion of the report submitted to the Higher Public Prosecutor's Office in July 2016 is that "the injuries sustained by the late Radislava Dada Vujasinovic may be the result of murder, suicide, or an accident".

The president of the Commission Investigating Murders of Journalists, Veran Matic, told UNS that "thanks to the work of the Commission, evidence was found (in 2013), which was believed to have been destroyed during the bombing in 1999, and that the Commission had mediated to hand over all the evidence to one of the world's forensic institutes with highest level of credibility, the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI)."

"Until the Prosecution is ready to close the procedure, the Commission will not do it either. In the meantime, we invite anyone who has some knowledge, evidence, or information that could contribute to the investigation, to send it to the Commission or the Prosecutor's Office so that it can be verified," Matic said.

He added that the Prosecution and the Commission are in contact, and after the results of the decisive expert opinion of the NFI, that was subsequently published, the Commission was not informed of other activities of the Prosecution.

"The Commission very much respects the independence of the Prosecution and does not interfere with its work, but instead it expects adequate results," Matic said.

Radislava Dada Vujasinovic was found dead on April 9, 1994 in her apartment in 118 Treci Bulevar in New Belgrade. The record made after the autopsy stated that she died the day before, at 01:30 hours.

The official version of the event at the time was that Vujasinovic committed suicide, by shooting herself in the chest from a hunting rifle. So far, the investigation has been renewed several times.

Her family hired a private ballistics expert, Zoran Jovanovic, who found that traces of blood of another type, beside that of Vujasinovic, were found on the armchair (in which she was found). His findings were submitted to the Prosecution in December 1994, but were rejected.

Another ballistics expert, Vladimir Kostic, conducted a series of expert examinations in 2008. He handed over his findings to the court and stated that two felt wads were found in the body of Dada Vujasinovic, which would mean that she killed herself with two cartridges fired from a hunting rifle, that is, that she had to shoot herself twice, which is not possible.

After that, the District Public Prosecutor in Belgrade in January 2009 re-qualified the case as murder instead of suicide and initiated a pre-trial procedure.

The Netherlands Forensic Institute in The Hague found in their report that one, instead of two wads, had been found in the body of Dada Vujasinovic.

In other words, Vladimir Kostic's expert report was made in 2008, at the time when evidence from the investigation of the death of Dada Vujasinovic was not found and when it was believed to have been destroyed in the NATO bombing of a police facility. Kostic practically carried out an expert examination of an expert examination, that is, of expert findings of other experts, and not the evidence itself.

Only at the insistence of the Commission, evidence was discovered and it was found in the cabinet of a policeman who died.

"The Commission does not interfere with the work of the Prosecution, but taking into account that the case has been passivized, the only way to open an investigation was to suspect that murder had taken place, which the prosecutor did. To the best of our understanding, the basis for this was the suspicion presented by a private expert witness, that has been clarified by the decisive expert opinion," Matic told UNS.

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