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Serbia commission to investigate journalist murders

SEEMO welcomes Serbia commission to investigate journalist murders

Vienna, 4 February 2013 - The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), supports the establishment and work of the Commission to investigate the murders of journalists Radislava Dada Vujasinovic, Slavko Curuvija and Milan Pantic in Serbia.

The decision to establish the Commission came into force on 2 February, 2013. The goal of the Commission is to determine the agenda and time frame for fact-gathering and ascertaining other circumstances related to the investigations into the murder of the journalists, thus establishing cooperation with the bodies authorised to lead investigations. Based on the gathered information and circumstances related to the ongoing investigations, the commission will prepare a review of the current course of the investigations, including preparing its opinion on the effective ways of leading the investigations that could result in further progress, and offering concrete measures to be taken in that respect.

SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said: “SEEMO supports the work of the Commission established with the aim of resolving the murders of the journalists Radislava Dada Vujasinovic, Slavko Curuvija and Milan Pantic. It is notable that the Commission's establishment was initiated by journalists, and that they successfully exerted pressure on the Government of the Republic of Serbia to make this initiative offical. Up till now, there have been several initiatives and investigations, but never has such a strong front been formed by the united forces of journalists and representatives of the authorised institutions. The advantage of a Commission established in such a manner lies in its diverse character. Due to their personal relations with the journalists in question, journalist-members of the Commission, will most certainly make the work of the Commission more effective, which will, in turn, contribute to its achieving expected results. We call on international institutions and experts to contribute their experience and professional practice to the work of the Commission which - due to the way in which it was established and due to its constitution and mandate - represents novelty on the international level”.

“We expect to get impartial information on what were the major obstacles in the investigations, and who is responsible for them, and that the final outcome of the Commission's work will be the solving of these murders, including revealing the perpatrators and those who gave the orders, as well as convictions in criminal trials - which will bring relief to everyone, especially to the families of the victims”.

“It is of the utmost importance that the Commission works without any pressure to come up with the results as soon as possible, as the most important thing is to achieve its aim, a process supported by the broad mandate of the Commission. It would be very significant to make the best of the investigations conducted so far, in a process resulting in the identification of the perpetrators, as this would be the best way to dispel suspicions concerning its establishment, its members and the motives involved – all of which should be completely separated from everyday political influences seeking to maintain the status quo”.

SEEMO will offer all its existing resources in order to support the Commission and its activities.

ENDS

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