19 July 1965 |
in the village of Breznica, near Peć, SFR Yugoslavia
|Other names||Zveki, Zmija (Snake)|
Zvezdan Jovanović (Serbian Cyrillic: Звездан Јовановић; born 19 July 1965), also known as Zveki and Zmija ("Snake") is a Serbian former paramilitary and criminal who is best known for having assassinated Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić on 12 March 2003 in Belgrade (see Assassination of Zoran Đinđić).
Jovanović was born in the village of Breznica in Metohija in Kosovo in 1965. He had been a locksmith until joining the Serbian Volunteer Guard led by Željko Ražnatović in 1991. Jovanović had been a member of the feared paramilitary unit the Red Berets and held the police rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He also participated in the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s, particularly in operations in Kosovo.
Assassination of Zoran Đinđić
Jovanović was arrested on the charges of being responsible for the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić in March 2003. He was convicted of the murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison. The evidence connected him to the infamous Zemun Clan of Serbia's organized crime network, and to its alleged leader, Milorad Ulemek. He was silent during most of his trial but, allegedly, once confessed to the murder of Đinđić and said in a police report that he feels no remorse for killing him.
In May 2008, ICTY-imprisoned Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Šešelj compared Jovanović with the assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, saying “he would enjoy the same fame and glory that Gavrilo Princip has in Serbian history”.