It is still unknown who ordered and threw a bomb on Vijesti

Source/Photo: Savo Prelević

PODGORICA, 26.12.2017 – After the release of two indictees charged for Vijesti bombing, the prosecution apparently did nothing to reveal perpetrators and orderers of the attack, which took place on December 26, four years ago.

This can be concluded from the Basic State Prosecution’s response to Vijesti inquiry whether there have been any new details in the investigation of bombing attack and when last action was taken in detecting bombers and what was it.

We asked them whether there are any suspects in the proceeding, and if so, who they are.

The answers to these questions were not provided from the Police Directorate.

The Basic State Prosecutors Office answered to Vijesti what they did in the proceeding that was ended by the acquittal, adding that the case against unknown perpetrators is still active.

“Related to the activation of an explosive device at Vijesti newsroom this Prosecution firstly formed a file against unknown perpetrators for the criminal offense. Evidences were collected during the investigation of the scene. Based on the investigation of evidences, and in particular traces on certain items (vehicles, clothing), and anthropological expertise, criminal proceedings were initiated against two persons. After the completion of the proceedings, the court found that there was not enough evidence that would undoubtedly indicate that the accused persons were perpetrators. The court’s final decision was to release them from charges. The case against unknown perpetrators is still active”, responded the Prosecution.

The police did not even answer to Vijesti questions.

Marko Šofranac and Nemanja Vukmirović from Podgorica were the only ones who were charged. They were released from charges in June 2016.

The Higher Court in Podgorica confirmed the decision of a judge Nenad Vujanović from Podgorica Basic Court, who released them twice from the charges that they set 300-400 grams of explosives under the window of Vijesti editor-in-chief, Mihailo Jovović.

They have been also on trial for unauthorized possession of weapons and explosive materials in an attempt to cause general danger.

Courts have concluded that decision has to be made in favor of the accused since doubt exist in determining perpetrators.

Telecommunications expert Predrag Boljević ruled out the possibility of overlapping of a base station near object Maša with a base station near Vijesti newsroom. In that region, the accused used mobile phones on the night of the attack.

In order to overlap, according to an expert explanation, there must be overloads or failures on the network, which was “not the case here”.

The indictment stated that Vukmirović set up an explosive, while the Šofranac was “on watch”.

The Higher Court accepted the explanation of a judge Vujanović that the charge is unstipulated and unfounded, since it was not established with certainty that the two of them had set up an explosive.

“The court found that the accused defenses were not impaired with the evidence, except that in the part that explosive contamination could have occurred through road mining… the experts said that the explosive was not used for that purpose, but that has no influence”, said the judge at the time.

Vukmirović claimed that he helped his father in the village when the road was expanded and mined, explaining thus the presence of TNT particles on the car, sneakers and gloves found in the trunk. Examination of the gloves interior, taken from Vukmirović’s Renault, conducted by the Forensic Center showed the presence of biological material, which probably belongs to his close relative.

Judge’s reasoning for found explosive traces on parts of clothing of the accused, was chemical experts opinion that contamination with explosive traces could come through any contact.

“Contamination could have happened at any place… For example, contamination could happen through accidental shaking of hands with any person. That cannot be a reliable evidence of guilt”, judge concluded.

Vujanović also added that accused defense was confirmed by the testimony of a witness Vuk Ruta, but also with listings which confirm their movements that evening.

He stated that anthropological expert analysis was not reliable enough, while unlike the Prosecutor, he found that one of the key evidence for determining guilt was analysis of the traffic expert.

Traffic expert found that persons from the video could not, during the time recorded on the video, disappear from the scene, enter the vehicle, start it and pass through Bulevar revolucije.

The Prosecution in the indictment did not define one of the key things – the exact time of the explosion. It states that the act was committed “between 23:30 and 23:40. Vijesti published that the explosion happened “around 23:35”, and recording from one of Pobjeda’s cameras clearly shows the flash in “23:46:36”. In one of the police documents, it is stated that the watch on this surveillance camera “rushes” for 13 minutes, which would determine the time of the explosion at 23:33:36. On another camera, the flash is seen at 23:32:49, and it’s not clear if the clock on the camera shows the exact time. Vijesti journalist called the police a few minutes after the attack, around 23:38.

On Pobjeda’s camera recording, which “rushes for 13 minutes”, a man walking on the sidewalk of Bulevar revolucije from the direction of Vektra building can be seen. He met with a man coming from the opposite direction. They wore jackets with hoods, covering their heads. They crossed over the pedestrian crossing together and walked into the street between Vijesti and Pobjeda’s buildings. They were seen on the camera for about one minute and 19 seconds until they entered Pobjeda’s yard. After a minute and 28 seconds they can be seen on the camera again, running through the street from Vijesti direction. One took off the hood from the head. They ran through the same pedestrian crossing, and continued through the sidewalk of the boulevard in the direction of the crossroad with Ivana Vujoševića Street. After that they disappeared in the dark.

This recording lasts 24 seconds in total. Six seconds after their disappearance from the camera, from the direction of Ivana Vujošević Street, gray Renault Scénic can be seen on the recoding. It drives with a high speed and continues to the crossroad with Moskovska Street and disappears from the camera after three seconds. All this lasts in total three minutes and 11 seconds. Thirty-seven seconds after the disappearance of Renault from the camera, a flash of the explosion can be seen.

The police and the prosecutor’s office claimed that a bigger man whose height was 194.67cm, with a possible mismatch of plus-minus 3.20 cm, as determined by experts’ analysis of the camera recording, was Šofranac, and the other with a height of 182.40cm with the same possible mismatch, Vukmirović.

The problem in the procedure caused as well the passing of the gray Renault Scénic, which was driven by Vukmirović, what he confirmed.

The expert claimed that it was impossible for one or both of the attackers to enter the car in six seconds, having in mind their location at which they disappeared in the dark, the location at which Renault appeared on the camera, and its speed. This would mean that Vukmirović could have been at two places at the same time, no matter how those places were close.

The police at first, based on “operational information” concluded, by mid-January, that Šofranac was involved in the attack, and later it suspected Vukmirović, through Šofranac’s phone listing, who called Vukmirović at 23:34:47 and talked with him for 36 seconds.

The expert found that the communication was carried out from different, although close base stations, and that Vukmirović’s communication at 23:33:26 with the second number was “most likely in the area of Ivan Vujošević Street, location between Bulevar revolucije and Bulevar Svetog Petra Cetinjskog”. After that, Šofranac still communicated from the same base station until midnight, and Vukmirović communicated from different city stations.

In the period in which the prosecutor claims that an explosion occurred between 23:30 and 23:40, although the exact time was not determined, Šofranac talked on the phone for a total of one minute and 49 seconds, while Vukmirović talked 50 seconds, including their conversation of 36 seconds.

Both throughout the proceedings denied any connection with the incident.

After acquittal, Vukmirović initiated proceedings against the state, requesting compensation of 1,000 euros for ungrounded deprivation of liberty.

The process is ongoing in Podgorica Basic Court.

Šofranac, according to Vijesti information did not initiate any compensation procedure.

Vukmirović had no conflicts with the law before this, while Šofranac was convicted several times for committing violent crimes.

To date, their motive has not been determined, and it is not known whether the police and the prosecution investigated the orderers of this attack.

Jovović: Which structures strayed into Đukanović’ s system?

“Đukanović, one day after Vijesti bombing, “threatened” that he would dismiss those responsible in the prosecution and the police if they did not solve the case quickly. The case has not been resolved, no one has been dismissed, and the only person who lost job was the prosecutor who resisted the pressure of his superiors to officially suspect, regardless of everything – and before elections in Berane on March 9- Šofranac and Vukmirović, and to arrest Vukmirović. He considered that there were not enough evidence to do that, which the court later confirmed. After several months his mandate expired and it was not extended. Now he is doing something else.”

Jovović stated that he doubted that the prosecution made at least one step to find out orderers and perpetrators for this year and a half.

“Of course, none of them has the courage to call Đukanović and ask him to explain which structures have strayed into his system, and thus support such attacks or slow down the investigation. Or maybe the prosecution has realized that even for two years, the court cannot find him to deliver him a call to testify, in the case in which he is an injured person, and they do not want to be embarrassed. Aside from the fact that no one in his system has ever been responsible for this, but they have only been “promoted”. Why there would be an exception now. That’s why I ask Đukanović publicly: Which structures were involved in the attack on Vijesti? Those accused in the secret document obtained from the police top or those who sent it to him?”, said Mihailo Jovović, editor-in-chief of Vijesti.

Đukanović has never been invited to a hearing by the prosecution to say what he knows

In January 2014, the then Prime Minister Milo Đukanović, a month after the bombing attack, said that the state structures were involved in this case, but he has never been invited to a hearing in the prosecution to tell what concrete information he has.

At the final DPS election event in Ulcinj, Đukanović said that attacks with explosive devices, such as those on Vijesti, seek to cause damage to Montenegro and that in these actions were involved, not only criminals who, like everywhere, were “rented” for these purposes, “but it could be said that there are various interests on which we carefully work”.

“Either of those who strayed into the system, and thus from the system support such intentions or slow down the investigation, but also there is not a small number of those who conform with the role of the victim, because it will bring their economic interests closer to potential donors,” said Đukanović.

“We will win all regardless of structures they come from – criminal, state, media, governmental or non-governmental and all others, and show that Montenegro is capable to guarantee security to its citizens and partners,” he added.

Vijesti editor-in-chief had asked several times for hearing of the Prime Minister regarding information he had.

Even during the proceedings against Vukmirović and Šofranc, he proposed hearing of Đukanović, but the judge concluded that this should not be dealt with by the court, but by the prosecution.