Curuvija Murder: Serbian Police Deny Getting Evidence Illegally

Source/Author: Balkan Insight, BIRN, Filip Rudic
Source/Photo: Photo: Slavko Curuvija Foundation

BELGRADE, 01,06,2018. – A witness at the trial for the 1999 murder of opposition journalist Slavko Curuvija denied defence claims that evidence allegedly placing former State Security officers at the scene of the crime was obtained illegally.

Police inspector Dragan Kecman told Belgrade Higher Court on Thursday that data regarding the movements and communications of the defendants, allegedly placing them at the scene at the time of Curuvija’s murder, was obtained legally from a mobile phone operator.

“I think we issued a confirmation that we are taking the tapes, we do everything according to the Law on Criminal Proceedings,” Kecman told the court.

The defence for two former Serbian State Security officers charged with participating in the murder, Milan Radonjic and Ratko Romic, claims that the evidence was obtained illegally. If the court agrees, the evidence will be thrown out.

The evidence in question is kept on nine disks taken from the Mobtel mobile phone operator.

The defence has already filed a motion to have the disks excluded from evidence, but it was rejected by the Appeals Court in May.

At Thursday’s hearing, the Higher Court said it will announce its decision on the evidence on June 12.

The trial for the murder of Curuvija opened in 2015, 16 years after he was shot dead. He was allegedly killed because of his opposition to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

According to the indictment, an ‘unknown person’ ordered the killing of Curuvija and Radomir Markovic, the former head of Serbian State Security, abetted the crime, while three former security service officers – Ratko Romic, Milan Radonjic and Miroslav Kurak – took part in the organisation and execution of the murder.

Kurak was the direct perpetrator, while Romic was his accomplice, it is alleged.

Three of the suspects have pleaded not guilty, while Kurak is on the run and is being tried in absentia.

Markovic is currently serving a 40-year sentence for the murder of former Serbian President Ivan Stambolic and other crimes, while Romic was acquitted alongside Radonjic in September last year of the attempted murder of opposition party leader Vuk Draskovic.