Serbia: RSF is devastated by the acquittal in the appeal trial for the killing of journalist Slavko Curuvija, but vows to fight for justice

The Appeal Court of Belgrade has acquitted four former intelligence officers of the assassination of journalist Slavko Curuvija. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) denounces a hard blow to the fight against impunity in the Balkans, but will continue to fight for justice in this emblematic case.

Almost 25 years after the killing of leading Serbian journalist Slavko Curuvija, all four persons charged with his murder were acquitted by the Appeal Court of Belgrade on 2 February 2024. The court in the EU candidate country with serious issues with independence of the justice system refused to confirm the first-instance verdict condemning the four due to procedural reasons in the trial and due to lack of evidence about, among others, the mastermind of the killing. The editor-in-chief of the daily Dnevni telegraf and the weekly Evropljanin - critical of the then President Slobodan Milosevic - was brutally assassinated on 11 April 1999 near his home in Belgrade.

The appeal verdict represents a serious setback in the proceedings, which saw the alleged perpetrators condemned to long prison sentences on first instance in 2021. 

“We are devastated by the acquittal in the Slavko Curuvija case. 25 years after his murder, the appeal verdict represents a hard blow to the fight against impunity for crimes on journalists in the Balkans. Our thoughts go out to the journalist’s family and colleagues in the region who risk feeling a chilling effect on their work. RSF will continue fighting until justice is served in this emblematic case for press freedom in Serbia and beyond.

Pavol Szalai
Head of the European Union-Balkans Desk at RSF

Serbia is ranked 91st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index

91/ 180
Score : 59.16
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