Assassination of Zoran Đinđić
|Assassination of Zoran Đinđić|
Position of Zoran Đinđić and the sniper at the moment of assassination
|Date||12 March 2003
12:23 p.m. (UTC+01:00)
|Deaths||1 (Zoran Đinđić)|
|1 (Milan Veruović, bodyguard)|
|Perpetrators||Zvezdan Jovanović (incl. 11 accomplices under the orders of Milorad Ulemek with ties to Serbian Organized Crime)|
Zoran Đinđić, the sixth Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, was assassinated at 12:23 p.m. Central European Time on Wednesday, March 12, 2003, in Belgrade, Serbia. Đinđić was fatally shot by a sniper while exiting his vehicle outside of the back entrance of the Serbian government headquarters.
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Đinđić previously escaped an assassination attempt in February 2003, in which a truck driven by Dejan Milenković (AKA Bagzi), a member of the Zemun Clan, an organized crime group, attempted to force the Prime Minister's car off the road in Novi Beograd. Đinđić escaped injury thanks to his security detail. Milenković was arrested, but released from custody after only a few days. The investigative court explained their decision to release Milenković by stating that he was a salesman whose business suffered from his absence.[clarification needed]
Đinđić had made many enemies domestically throughout his political career primarily of because of his regard as being pro-Western and his hard-line policies on organized crime. Đinđić extradited Slobodan Milošević to the ICTY in 2001.
The assassination was organized and planned by Dušan Spasojević and Milorad Ulemek, also known as Legija. Ulemek was an ex-commander of the JSO (Special Operations Unit), which was founded by Slobodan Milošević's secret service during the 1990s and was used during Milošević's rule for special operations in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, as well as for the elimination of Milošević's political opponents.
It was Ulemek who ordered Zvezdan Jovanović to carry out the assassination. Ulemek was connected to the powerful Zemun Clan of the Serbian mafia and had been recently sentenced to 40 years in jail for other offences that included murder and attempted murder.
The assassin, Zvezdan Jovanović, was born in 1965 in a village near the town of Peć, Yugoslavia. Jovanović was a Lieutenant colonel in the JSO. Jovanović stated that he killed Đinđić because he saw him as a traitor to Serbia.
At 12:25 Central European Time, Đinđić was fatally wounded by a gunshot while entering the Serbian government building where he was supposed to meet Foreign Minister of Sweden, Anna Lindh, and her colleague Jan O. Karlsson. The high-powered bullet with which he was shot penetrated his heart and killed him almost instantly. According to the official government statement, Đinđić was not conscious and did not have a pulse upon arriving at the emergency ward. His bodyguard, Milan Veruović, was also seriously wounded in the stomach by another shot.
Arrests and trial
Zvezdan Jovanović was arrested in March 2003 and was charged with Đinđić's murder. He was silent during most of his trial but, allegedly, once he confessed to the murder of Đinđić, he said in a police report that he felt no remorse for killing him.
Aleksandar Simović, one of the co-conspirators, was arrested in Belgrade on 23 November 2006.
On 23 May 2007, the Belgrade Special Court for Organised Crime found Simović and eleven other men - Milorad Ulemek, Zvezdan Jovanović, Dejan Milenković, Vladimir Milisavljević, Sretko Kalinić, Ninoslav Konstantinović, Milan Jurišić, Dušan Krsmanović, Željko Tojaga, Saša Pejaković and Branislav Bezarević - guilty for the premeditated murder of Zoran Đinđić.
- "Djindjic's killers convicted, sentenced after 3½-year trial" by Igor Jovanovic, Southeast European Times, 24 May 2007, accessed 21 January 2011
- "BBC NEWS - Europe - Djindjic murder suspect arrested". Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "Serb police kill Đinđić suspects". BBC News. 2003-03-28. Retrieved 2011-11-17.
- Danas - Zoran Đinđić murdered, state of emergency in Serbia, March 13, 2003
- UNMIK DPI Foreign Media Monitoring, 26 March 2003
- "BBC NEWS - Europe - Analysis: Marathon Djindjic trial". Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- Administrator. "Group Named in Plot on Serbia Chief". Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "BBC NEWS - Europe - Djindjic 'sniper' remains silent". Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "Serb police kill Djindjic suspects". BBC. 28 March 2003.
- "Serbian court confirms sentences for Djindjic's killers". SETimes.com. December 30, 2008. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
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