Serbia: Top-Level Officials Allegedly Linked to Death of Prime Minister

A man convicted of plotting the 2003 assassination of pro-Western Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic told investigators that a number of high profile officials knew about the plan in advance.

 

Serbian media outlets have released the signed affidavit of Milos Simovic, who is serving time for his role in the killing, saying senior politicians including then-Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica, were aware of the plan to kill Djindjic.

Simonovic, who is participating in the investigation in exchange for a commuted sentence, told authorities last year that a man known as “Coki” ordered the assassination, which was then perpetrated by members of the organized crime syndicate known as the Zemun clan (of which Simonovic was a member) in collaboration with an ultranationalist unit of the police.

Coki has been identified by Belgrade media outlets as Nebojsa Covic, who was serving as Djindjic’s deputy.  Covic denies the allegations.

But Dejan Milenkovic, another Zemun member also serving time, corroborated Simonovic’s information in statements from the past few years, according to RFE/RL.

The affadavit also names Vojislav Seselj, a hardline nationalist politician currently on trial before the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).  Simonovic said Aco Tomic and Rade Bulatovic, former heads of military and civilian intelligence agencies also knew about the plot.

Djindjic and Kostunica joined forces during the democratic revolution to oust the regime of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.  They subsequently split, with Djindjic embracing western-style reforms and Kostunica turning to nationalist politics.