21 years since Zoran Đinđić’s assassination

Today marks 21 years since the assassination of the Serbian PM, Zoran Đinđić, who was killed as he was entering the Serbian government building two years after he had been appointed prime minister.

A few hours after the murder occurred, the government declared a state of emergency in Serbia, while the members of the Zemun criminal clan and part of the Special Operations Unit (JSO) of the Serbian Interior Ministry were immediately suspected as perpetrators.

During the state of emergency, which lasted until April 22, 2003, the police arrested more than 11,000 people, including politicians, high-ranking military officers as well as judicial officers during an operation codenamed ‘Sablja’ (The Sabre).

In August 2003, an indictment was issued against 44 people for participating in the organization of the murder and the trial began on December 22 of the same year before the District Court in Belgrade.

On May 23, 2007, the court found the defendants guilty, sentencing them to a total of 378 years in prison.

The former JSO commander Milorad Ulemek Legija and his deputy Zvezdan Jovanović were sentenced to 40 years in prison as the immediate perpetrators of the murder.

It had been known for some time that Đinđić’s life was in danger because of these clashes with the mafia. When he narrowly escaped death in a road accident on 21 February, Vuk Drašković, once the main opposition leader, was nearly killed the same way by Milosevic’s agents several years ago rumours began circulating Belgrade that the mafia had united behind a plot to get rid of Đinđić.

He went down in history as Serbia’s first democratically elected prime minister after the fall of Slobodan Milošević’s regime.

Many analysts and politicians describe the assassination of Đinđić as an attempt to halt the process of democratization and modernization of society, as well as radical economic and social reforms.

(N1, 12.03.2024)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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