Vienna, Zagreb, Brussels, 14 July 2011
We are writing regarding the unsolved cases of attacks against journalists in Croatia.
The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), the Croatian Journalists’ Association (HND; an AEJ partner), and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) express their joint concern over the fact that three years after the brutal beating of the Croatian journalist, Dusan Miljus, the police have been unable to find the perpetrators or those who ordered the attack.
Miljus, an investigative reporter with the Zagreb-based daily newspaper Jutarnji List, was severely beaten on 2 July 2008. Two individuals with helmets attacked him with baseball bats. Miljus suffered a brain concussion and a broken arm.
After his recovery, Miljus was assigned round-the-clock police protection. Since then, police authorities have promised a quick solution to the case. Croatia’s minister of the interior, Tomisalv Karamarko, reiterated on several occasions that the police were on the right track. In fact, in December 2010, 12 people were detained for their alleged involvement in the attack. Ten of them were released and two were kept in detention for six months. In June 2011, the Public Prosecutor withdrew all charges against the two detained individuals due to lack of evidence.
As a result, three years after the attack, the investigation is back to square one.
SEEMO, HND and EFJ maintain that attacks on journalists cannot go unpunished. The three organisations urge the Public Prosecutor and the police to step up their efforts to track down those who attacked Miljus as well as those who ordered the attack.
In addition, the circumstances surrounding the 2008 assassination of high-profile Croatian journalist and editor of the weekly Nacional, Ivo Pukanic, have not been completely clarified. While those who planted the bomb which killed Pukanic and Niko Franjic, marketing manager of Nacional, were indicted, the masterminds behind their assassination were never found.
As a future member state of the European Union, Croatia should step up efforts to demonstrate that attacks on journalists will not go unpunished.
Oliver Vujovic, Secretary General, SEEMO
Zdenko Duka, President, HND
Arne König, President, EFJ