More than four years after his death, a Serbian court will finally deliver its verdict in the Zoran Djindjic assassination case. The trial of the slain Prime Minister’s alleged killers is due to conclude today – but it may pose more questions than it answers. After months of hearings, the murder of two key witnesses, and the resignation of the judge due to death threats, there is still no clear explanation for the March 2003 killing.
This is the man alleged to be the sniper who fired the fatal shot. Zvezdan Jovanovic is one of 12 suspects, five of whom are still on the run. Most were members of Belgrade’s Zemun mafia gang and had fought in conflicts as mercenaries for former leader Slobodan Milosevic.
The indictment says the accused killed Djindjic to bring hardliners back to power and to avoid a crackdown on the lucrative organised crime from which they profited. Jovanovic and his main co-accused, Milorad Ulemek each face up to 40 years in prison if found guilty.
The indictment says Djindjic was killed by a lone gunman who fired two bullets at him as he entered his office in Belgrade. But, whether political assassination or mafia hit, political reaction to the verdict could set off ripples in Serbia, a fragile democracy ruled by a fledgling coalition.