17th anniversary of murder of journalist Milan Pantic

The Commission for the Investigation of Murders of Journalists on Friday issued a media statement on the anniversary of the murder of journalist Milan Panic.

Source: B92

The Commission strongly regrets that we mark 17th anniversary since the death of our colleague Milan Pantic without reaching justice, despite the fact that serious efforts were taken into finding the killers and their masterminds who should face with deserved punishment.

Due to Commission’s efforts, finally judicial bodies had interrogated all the witnesses in this case, and their statements entered into prosecution records. Although we had faced with several attempts to resolve this heinous crime, work on this case was never more intensive.

Based on the evidence gathered so far, the Commission is convinced that the motive for the killing of colleague Pantic is criminal privatization during which several individuals got bribed by several millions’ sum, so it remained without court epilogue. The cases pertaining to this particular privatization are submitted to the Higher Public Prosecutor’s Office in Belgrade, and Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime, for now without any results, despite doubtless evidence that exists.

Time flow becomes an increasing obstacle to the more efficient gathering of valid evidence, but there is also inefficient criminal justice system which showed all its numerous flaws in this particular case. *The Commission will introduce all state bodies with its review that frequent amendments of this system and concrete changes of procedures, contributed to the impunity of the ones responsible for the killings of journalists.

Namely, in the prosecutor’s records prior to the launch of the work of the Commission, there were only documents that stated the fact that colleague Pantic got killed, while in the police records, there were mostly notes that recounted witnesses’ statements, instead of immediately conserving all potential evidence back in 2001, in accordance with the then effective Criminal Procedure Law, by taking statements from the witnesses in a way that allows its use in the court.

Justice is only available when the actions of state, primarily judicial authorities, systematically target evidence gathering in the shortest possible time.
In the same spirit, we have to mention the court trial for the killing of Slavko Curuvija, which is being carried out in a shockingly slow procedure, along with the legally bizarre decisions reached by the Court Council.

"We sincerely hope that relevant authorities will find strength to increase their efficiency in revealing not only these but all crimes committed against journalists," said the statement, signed by the Commission's Chairman Veran Matic.


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