IJAS: We express concern over the possible delay in the proceedings in the case of the burning of Milan Jovanović’s house

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Source/Author: IJAS

Yesterday, for the fourth time, the start of the retrial was postponed in the case of the burning of the house of journalist Milan Jovanović, this time due to the merging of cases.

After the Court of Appeals recently revoked the verdict against Igor Novakovic, the third indictee for that crime, at yesterday’s hearing, the prosecutor proposed merging the case with the case against Dragoljub Simonovic, Vladimir Mihailovic and Aleksandar Marinkovic. The prosecutor requested an adjournment to correct the indictment, after which the judge adjourned the main trial. The defense attorneys agreed with the proposal.

It should be reminded that at the beginning of the trial, the entire procedure was unified, so that before the end of the trial, the then judge Slavko Žugić singled out the procedure against Novaković due to the non-appearance of the defense attorney at the hearings. The verdict against Simonović and two others was passed in February last year, and against Novaković nine months later. Both have, unfortunately, been abolished.

The retrial of Dragoljub Simonovic was supposed to start on February 24, but it was postponed due to the illness of defense lawyer Zora Dobricanin Nikodinovic. The second time, the beginning was postponed due to Simonović’s illness, and the third time due to the absence of the defense lawyer.

Although we understand the prosecutor’s initiative from today’s hearing, based on the experience so far, the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia expects further obstructions from the accused, and that is why we appeal to the Court to prevent attempts to delay the proceedings. The persuader and executors of the crime are known, so we believe that the retrial must not last long, and that the final verdict must be passed as soon as possible.

IJAS

June 23, 2022