It has been two years since the attempted murder of journalist’s portal Guerilla and TV BN Vladimir Kovacevic. On August 26th, 2018, in the evening, the attackers waited for Kovačević front of the entrance to his building in the Obilićevo, beat him with metal bars and inflicted severe head injuries. Kovacevic was beaten as he returned from work.
In mid-September 2018, the police arrested one of the attackers, boxer Marko Colic. Another attacker, Nedeljko Dukic, surrendered to police in November 2019, after more than a year of escape.
In March this year, Marko Colic was sentenced by the Supreme Court of the Republika Srpska to five years in prison for the attempted murder of Vladimir Kovacevic. In June this year, the trial of Nedeljko Dukic, the second suspect in the attack on Kovacevic, began at the District Court in Banja Luka. Dukic is not yesterday appeared at the trial in the District Court in Banja Luka, he is sick. The president of the court council, Blagoja Dragosavljevic, explained that the doctor of the Banja Luka Penitentiary informed the court that the accused had acute diarrhea, Srpskainfo reports. “We will postpone the trial until tomorrow and we hope that the accused will be able to attend it,” Dragosavljevic said, reports Gerila.info
It will most likely never be known who ordered the murder of Vladimir Kovacevic. Gerila.info sent a question to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Banja Luka about whether they investigated the attempted murder of Kovacevic and, if so, what information they obtained when it came to the perpetrators of the attack on him. But they did not receive a response.
“So far, several names have been unofficially mentioned in public that could be behind the attack. I told the prosecution on the first day when I suspected, and as far as I know, these people have never been questioned. If they are, neither the public nor I know that. I am afraid that the investigation will not be allowed to go in the direction of revealing the orderers, because they are obviously awfully close to the local authorities. It is also devastating that the journalistic community is silent, I am also afraid that I was killed to talk for two months and forget like everything else. The case is open as long as the principals do not answer, and that will not happen as long as the judiciary is a slave to our politics “, Kovačević emphasizes for Gerila.info.
The president of the “Banja Luka Journalists’ Club”, Sinisa Vukelic, told to Guerrilla that this case only confirms the environment in which journalists work and live in Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina. He reminds that neither executors and the perpetrators of the assassination attempt on the former director of “Nezavisne novine” Željko Kopanja have been found yet, as well as the motive for the attack, and that this is the case to this day as far as similar attacks are concerned. It is never known who the principals are.
“The will, ability and desire to reveal those who endanger the work of journalists and their lives have never been shown. Politicians always express declarative support for journalists in public. However, they always add “but you also write everything”, which contributes to creating an environment in which such behavior is acceptable “, Vukelic points out.
As for the change in the situation, he states that it is difficult to expect the end of such an atmosphere and that there is a “constant struggle”, emphasizing that freedom and rights are being won step by step.
“And when they win, they have to defend themselves. We are just at the beginning and it probably will not be easy and fast overnight. But without the support of the profession and solidarity, we cannot expect to get all the rights just like that “, concludes Vukelic in the end.