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Series: OFFICAL SECRET

The sixth episode transcript

A number of the State Security Service members were, according to Insider’s sources, sent to polygraph test regarding the assassination of the Serbian Prime Minister. Some of them failed at the test but this information remained undisclosed until today, as a top secret. All points out to the fact, the Service, regardless of the crimes and without real reforms, can survive every government.

Reconciliation between Democratic Party, whose president, Zoran Djindjic, was killed in 2003, and Socialist party of Serbia, whose president was Slobodan Milosevic, came about only eight years after the democratic changes and five years after the assassination of the Serbian Prime Minister.

Zoran Djindjic, according to the trial verdict, was killed by Special Operation Unit members. The Unit was created by Slobodan Milosevic, to undertake political assassinations and dirty businesses. Despite the Milosevic regime created a system which killed and robed its own citizens, representatives of the party which had brought down the system didn’t take it as a problem to explain to the citizens the time has come to forget about the past. Representatives of Liberal-Democratic Party were strikingly silent during signing of conciliation declaration while at the city level, they provided minority support to coalition Socialist party of Serbia- Democratic party. Serbia witnessed a national conciliation in spite the fact many, responsible for political assassinations, state and citizens’ robbery, state smuggling- by which they had become wealthy while Serbia became poor, sinking into deterioration- were never criminally or politically prosecuted.

The last press conference by the Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic, February 27th 2003:

“We are now in an interesting and hopefully, promising phase in the fight against the organized crime, wherein a missing link finally appears- insiders. These are people, ready to collaborate or testify, under the institution of protected witness or without it, as participants about certain felonies. This in turn could lead to clarification of a number of serious felonies. Special Public Prosecution is being formed. I expect a great deal out of it, for this is for the first time an effective instrument, suitable to deal with the problem. The fact remains we do not have right now enough of solid evidence to confirm issues known to the public, and this is: some people, either former employees of the Service or partially within the Service, know some people from various services who are involved in felonies. I am an optimist regarding this matter and I expect in the next ten to fifteen days, some stir-up regarding this issue. After all, a certain anxiety, felt within the circles of the organized crime, gives us a reason for optimism, for they would not be nervous if they don’t perceive a danger to themselves”.

An association among politics, the services and criminal never was interrupted. Those who have, during the 1990’s performed executions for the State Security Service, have received, in a return, possibilities to engage in profitable businesses and protection from the police and prosecution attention. Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan, who begun to perform executions for the Service in late 1980’s, as you’ve heard in this serial, later on continued with the same activities. Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan serves as the best example to illustrate a bond among criminal, politics and the State Security Service. From the position of Red Star fans leader, to the commander of paramilitary formation “Tigers” which operated at the territory of the former Yugoslavia, he became an owner of casinos, pastry shops and gas stations. In 1995, when he married a folk-singer Svetlana Raznatovic the wedding was broadcasted by televisions, while the celebration gathered numerous politicians but also criminals.
Insider obtained exclusive photographs from the wedding of Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan.

Slavko Mijovic, known as Mija Pijuk, was Arkan’s acquaintance from the time Serbian Volunteer Guard was formed. Mija Pijuk had casinos, imported clothes, and engaged in construction business in the time period lacking regulations. He was killed on October 19th 2004. The murder case is not solved yet.

Arkan had godfathering ties with Milan Djordjevic Bonbona, who was a specialist for distinctive tasks on Arkan’s behalf. He allegedly worked for the State Service as well, according to sources. He was killed on March 11th 2001, another unsolved murder case.

Sreten Jocic, known as Joca Amsterdam, according to media was an associate to the Service since the beginning of 1990’s. He engaged in narcotics dealing. His endeavors were investigated by several European police. In Serbia, he is accused for incitement of murder in “Olimp” sports center coffee shop in 1995. He is at liberty today.

According to court rumors, Andrija Draskovic was close with Radomir Markovic. He allegedly had an official identifier of the State Service. Italian prosecution accused him of narcotics dealing. He stands a trial for the murder of Zvonko Plecic in 2000. He is a free citizen today.
Milorad Vucelic also attended Arkan’s wedding. At that time he was a close associate of Milosevic and director of the state television. Today, he owns a weekly journal “Pecat”.

Ivica Dacic also attended the wedding. He was then a member of Social Party of Serbia Executive Board and spokesman for the party. Today, he is a vice president of the Government and minister of police.

Zoran Djindjic, Serbian prime Minister was killed on March 12th 2003. After four years of trial, the court convicted Milorad Ulemek Legija and Zvezdan Jovanovic, members of Special Operation Unit, and some members of the Zemun gang, to total of 378 years of prison. The court procedure did not discover the possible agitators nor the role and responsibility of the security services in this matter.

According to the law, the Secret Service was under obligation to assess the premier’s security status until 2002. Later on, the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs became in charge of the premier’s security. However, these two institutions did nothing in regards to the premier’s security assessment, not even after several attempted murders, albeit the law regulations. Until this day, the responsibility of the institutions was never questioned or hold culpable. The only exception is Committee for investigation omissions in the premier’s security founded during “Saber” operation in 2003. The investigation by the Committee did not receive much attention within the public. Žarko Korać was the Committee’s president.

Žarko Korać, vice president of the Serbian Government 2001-2004: I’ve asked myself the same question over and over again. I’m not a lawyer, but I learned some things about laws. The question is: was this just a matter of negligence or irresponsible in a criminal way. I believe the latter was true. I am very sorry that Prosecution did not file criminal charges against some people who deserved it. Am I clear? So, I don’t think they perhaps did it on purpose, I don’t know that. I believe the majority did not commit omissions in the security of Zoran Djindjic on purpose, but I still believe a prosecutor should file criminal charges. Also, charges should have been filed against some people who did not do their part of the job. Not a one single process took place but some people simply got deposed from their respective positions, which did not cost a thing, as far as I know, they continued to work for the police of the Security-Information Agency. So, they have stayed at their positions, only five people got deposed. To me, this is still unbelievable. For instance, the chief of Zemun police station got unseated, the station was in charge of Schiller Street. And why a criminal charge was not filed against him, if this was on his territory, perhaps there were incriminating elements? Don’t make me discuss further about this subject, for we have spoke with him too. So, …

B92: Right, in your report you concluded a necessity for an internal investigation.

Žarko Korać: A catastrophe…both the police and the Agency rejected it. The Government was…

B92: What for?

Žarko Korać: I don’t know, I don’t know. It was rejected, you should ask…Obviously, everyone wanted to put an end to it.

Vlada Nikolić, agent RDB 1982-1999, consultant to the chief of RDB 2001: Then, it is a huge omission because within the Service there was a separate department, called at that time 6th department of the Service, in charge of not only physical protection but also for counter-intelligence protection of top state officials.

B92: This means, according to the law and within their responsibilities, they had, they must have done it?

Vlada Nikolić: Yes, in that period the act regulating the security was changed and I think it was passed over to the police, but I cannot remember now when was this exactly.

B92: Right, but no one assessed security?

Vlada Nikolić: Well, that’s a huge omission, and it’s ridiculous all ended by blaming all the responsibility to the chief of security of the building where the Government is seated.

Žarko Korać, vice president of the Serbian Government 2001-2004: The problem was they were not getting intelligence data because the Agency was under reformation, the intelligence department was separated and then…The police protected Djindjic but it wasn’t receiving data from the intelligence service. Secondly, no one ever did the assessment of the premier’s security. Everybody said so, and I’ve read materials, pointing out that 90-95%, a protection of individual is intelligence protection. So, that you find out someone is attempting assassination. You know, these body guards stand out, these guards, sunglasses, guns, strong young men, but that’s just an illusion. They are in fact the last resort of defense- when everything else fails. I don’t underestimate these guys, they honorably sacrifice their own lives, but the most important things is intelligence protection.

Intelligence service protection was missing but no one was charged for this omission. The law from December 2002 transferred the responsibility for the premier’s security to the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Until then, the premier’s security was under jurisdiction of the Secret Service. Due to the transfer of authority, a gap of several months was made, wherein no one actually was in charge of the security of the state officials.

The transfer of authority, from the Agency to police, regarding security of the state officials, was under jurisdiction of the Agency employee, Zlatko Ratnic. He transferred to the Police then. This process lingered due to unknown reasons. Set deadlines were never met and everything was adjusted in February 2003. According to Insider sources, Zlatko Ratnic left the police due to a conflict with Mihajlovic precisely because he was late with the state officials’ security takeover. In 2004, Ratnic became a chief of security in “Delta” company.

Žarko Korać, vice president of the Serbian Government 2001-2004: Unfortunately, our law on internal affairs changed, and a s a result, Security-Information Agency was formed under the government jurisdiction while the police, I would say, got a task of security protection, within one separate department. And then the problem was created- those who had secured Zoran Djindjic found themselves nowhere. They were not getting any information from the Police, while in theory they didn’t belong anymore to the State Security Service, that is Security-Information Agency; the agency, the State Security, since it did not provide security anymore, it didn’t provide either information to the police, about Djindjic’s safety being compromised…And that was the main problem. Those who supposed to protect Djindjic were telling us all the time, without going into it…Those were the guys who mostly secured him when he was the opposition leader. They all were consistent in one thing, telling us that Zoran Djindjic’s life is in danger. They found about it “on the streets, in bars etc., but no one official information came from the police..”. That is, from the Security-Information Agency: “Zoran Djindjic’s life is in danger”.

Bogoljub Milosavljević, professor of Administrative Law: I expected in the first place that the Minister of police resigns- for this was so logical. For instance, in 19th century Serbia, resignations by ministers of police were common, they had resigned for even less important issues.

Žarko Korać, vice president of the Serbian Government 2001-2004: That was “Saber”, I assume the premier Zivkovic and the government did not want to depose the minister, which would probably be like sending a particular message in the situation when the state was compromised, seriously compromised. Of course, it could have happened that Dusan Mihajlovic says; “I’m resigning over this”. One thing is sure; he will have to carry this burden for the rest of his life: he was a minister of the police whose premier was murdered. His response will be: “Well, it wasn’t my fault, I didn’t pick and chose his security. Zoran Djindjic wasn’t inclined to follow my advices”. That was true, however, it’s not important here, you were a head of the police when this happened and you have to bear consequences for your own responsibilities.

There were several attempted murders; one of them was on February 2003 near “Limes” arena. It was known right away that this was the case of an attempted murder. Dejan Milenkovic Bagzi provoked a car accident with his truck in order to stop a convoy with the premier Djindjic. Special Operation Unit and Zemun gang members waited nearby, armed and ready to kill the premier as soon as the convoy stops. Bagzi was arrested right at the spot, detained for eight days, but soon released by pre-trial council of the 4th court. Bagzi was on the run all until 2006. Even after this event, the authorized services did not perform the premier’s security assessment.

A month before the murder, Mirjana Markovic left for Moscow while Vojislav Seselj surrendered to Hague Tribunal, announcing a bloody period for Serbia. After numerous affairs, supported by both services, the State Security and Military, Lynch-law atmosphere was easily created, which at the end, brought about the assassination of the Serbian Prime Minister.

Žarko Korać, vice president of the Serbian Government 2001-2004: Everything was prepared for, those groups knew that Zoran Djindjic didn’t have a real support, and that he was a nuisance in returning the country to its previous state. And then Zoran Djindjic have that announcement, which is like a defense statement, printed as a poster after his murder, I don’t know, “if they think that by killing me they will stop the history…”.

B92: The system.

Žarko Korać: The system, yes. And that is also true, at the end, Serbia will be a democratic state, but his blood is the price to be paid for that progress, and not only his blood. 

When Djindjic was killed, the Service’s top officials were Misa Milicevic and Goran Zivaljevic. Insider asked Zivaljevic why intelligence protection was missing and what the Service did to prevent the assassination. Zivaljevic, the then deputy to the chief of Service, responded in a written statement:

“Security protection of Prime Minister, as well as of all the others state officials, are exempt from Security-Information Agency jurisdiction by ratification of Law on Security-Information Agency from December 1st 2002. Process of authority shifting, employees and sources division, from the Service/Agency to the Ministry of internal affairs lasted from December 2002 until February 10th 2003. Afterwards, the full authority in management, organization of work and all other issues regarding the question of the state officials’ security and protection, including the premier’s, was handed and performed by the Ministry of internal affairs. Therefore, Branislav Bezatevic, accomplice in the assassination of the premier, was not employed by Security-Information Agency but by Ministry of internal affairs. This fact is persistently being ignored whenever Bezarevic is mentioned”.

In February 2003, the Ministry of internal affairs became in charge of the state officials’ regarding a fight against the organized crime. From the at moment on, Prijic became a target of a synchronized action against his credibility: the rumor stated he was a member of Yugoslav left Party. That was untrue, but the Service placed the information through media so they could further obstruct a start of fight against the organized crime. At the same time Jovan Prijic took a testimony from Ljubisa Buha Cume, witness-collaborator, who escaped to a military base in Slovakia, to get away from the Zemun gang. A day prior to the premier’s assassination, Cume’s interrogation was over, and Prijic retuned to Serbia at 2 AM with a signed testimony, from that moment valid to court.

After the premier’s assassination, top officials of UBPOK requested that the Security-Information Agency partook some wiretapping measures in “Witness” operation, which resulted in locating several members of the Zemun gang. The then deputy to the chief of Security-Information Agency, in a statement to Insider, claims this was the first time in history that Security-Information Agency conceded wiretapping to UBPOK- the Ministry of internal affairs. This happened in the beginning of February 2003. The former deputy further claims that after an attempted assassination near “Limes” arena, two employees of Security-Information Agency tried to help, but got revoked from the city police, with an explanation the Agency had no business there. Later on, it turned out they were revoked by Slobodan Pazin, inspector in the city police, who was sentenced to seven and a half years of prison for participating in the premier’s murder.

Aco Tomic was a head of the Military Service at the time of assassination. The State Service, on the day of assassination, completed a summary about what was going on and forwarded the report to members of the then Government of Serbia. Officers in Yugoslav Army, according to Security-Information Agency, celebrated on that day.

Žarko Korać, vice president of the Serbian Government 2001-2004: I think it was at the Tara Mountain, this hotel, I cannot remember now exactly, they have their own way on how to mark these associates, whatever, there was this group of Montenegrin officers in that hotel, they were having dinner there and sang aloud. Then, a senior waiter came to their table and told them: “Gentlemen”, I remember now, the exact words, “it is very inappropriate to sing, after all, the premier was killed today”. And they said: “We are singing because he is killed, and when Milo Djukanovic gets killed, then we will really sing”. Hence, it’s a grand illusion that the entire Serbia mourned over Zoran Djindjic’s death, there were people who were very happy about it. This group of officers, even more tragically, belonged to Serbian and Montenegrin Army. This shows with which Djindjic had to deal. Hence, we know people who bought drinks to others, to celebrate his death. One particular part of Serbia hated Zoran Djindjic, and that wasn’t a small part.

The Committee headed by Korac have tried, thought the data obtained by the Military Service, to shed a light on conditions that led to the premier’s murder. 

Žarko Korać, vice president of the Serbian Government 2001-2004: Colonel Stojanovic was the chief officer of the Military Intelligence Service at that time. We wrote him a letter, asking a very simple question: did Zoran Djindjic had a file in the military Security Service? You have to know that an individual can be processed by several intelligence services, and then it’s very interesting what they come up with. The official answer was, and it’s archived in the Committee’s documents, Zoran Djindjic did not have a file in the Military Security. That was very strange to us, but the colonel was explicit, it wasn’t his personal opinion but the official letter stating there was no file about Djindjic.

Svetko Kovač, chief of the Military-Security Agency: Regarding the Military Security Service, we did participate, partially, in the murder investigation, within the scope we had been assigned to. In June 2003, we submitted a report, wherein we stated we didn’t have any knowledge or hints about the assassination, and we explained what we had done, our part and role in the investigation.

Aleksandar Vasiljević, chief of Army Security Service 1991-1992, deputy to the chief 1999-2001: It is being emphasized all the time that if the Military service archives would be open, then one would find who knows what, ranging from a brigade of criminals, told by some former agent of the State Security Service…

B92: Right, but we had, for instance, an example that Aco Tomic, chief of the Military Service, received in his cabinet in 2002 and 2003 people from the Zemun gang.

Aleksandar Vasiljević: You haven’t left me to finish the previous sentence. With the exception of two chiefs of the State Security Service. I think…There were 16 so far, I was the 9th. Nedeljko Boskovic was the 10th. He had a contact with criminals and Aca Tomic unfortunately went straight in, but not into an operative combinations with criminals, or from some personal needs, or interests. He was brought into that part and received a man brought by the commander of Special Operation unit.

B92: What do you mean by “brought into”?

Aleksandar Vasiljević: Well, he was brought in because he didn’t ask for a contact with Dusan Spasojevic.

B92: OK, but he knew who was Dusan Spasojevic. A chief of the Military Service, to meet such a man in his cabinet?

Aleksandar Vasiljević: The only problem here is this one: did he notify his superior about this contact? That they had a conversation. If he had made a note about this event, for his own security, so avoid later manipulations he was in some criminal deal or something.

According to Insider sources, the role of the Military Service was considerably bigger than presented. Namely, during “Saber”, Macedonian service decided to concede to the Serbian officials data about wiretapping of the Serbian attaché in Skoplje. According to the taped conversations, it turned out Zeljko Petkovic heard from his wife that Djindjic was killed, and commented: “Yesterday, a man told me this would happen”. An official of the Government went to Macedonia to take over the data during the operation “Saber”. He surrendered the data to the Army, but the investigation never went into that direction. In the operation ‘Saber”, Aco Tomic, chief of the Military Service, was also arrested. He was even indicted but later on dropped, after Democratic Party of Serbia came to power in 2004. While he was in prison, Kostunica, in a letter told him to “Don’t speak and hang on”.

Srđa Popović, lawyer: But I think there was a solid ground for his arrest. He lied during the investigation, the same as Bulatovic. They could not harmonize the story about that meeting with Legija and Dusan Spasojevic, that’s for one thing. Secondly, several witnesses charged Aco Tomic, testifying this wasn’t the only meeting he had with Sapsojevic and Legija. They claimed the two had visited Tomic in his apartment too, and I was astonished- not by the fact Tomic was arrested, but by the ground the special prosecutor dropped the charge against him. I appreciate how Prijic represented indictment, but I think it was some kind of compromise he had to make in order to continue with his work.
Aco Tomic refused an interview with Insider. Rade Bulatovic, former security consultant to Vojislav Kostunica, was arrested along with Tomic in the operation “Saber”. Both Tomic and Bulatovic spent three months in detention. Due to the detention, Bulatovic charged the state with 667.000 dinars. After Vojislav Kostunica came to power, Bulatovic become a chief of Security-Information Agency.

Biljana Kovačević Vučo, Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights: Rade Bulatovic’s appointment as the chief of Service actually sealed the consensus made regarding not interfering with the Service’s operations.

Srđa Popović, lawyer: I think the turning point was whether they would arrest Kostunica or not- wrongly formulated of course. In fact, a dilemma was, whether Kostunca should be interrogated or not, and many external factors got interfered, who considered that would be too dangerous. I am not making this up, Ljilja Smajlovic wrote and talked about it, and that member of the parliament, Djordje Mamula from Democratic Party of Serbia, they advised not to go for Kostunica, because it was considered, perhaps rightly, this could be dangerous for he had the Army’s loyalty and Military Security, because this could lead to perhaps destabilization of the state. And perhaps it could have, but then the whole line of investigation was interrupted and that matter closed for good.

Žarko Korać, vice president of the Serbian Government 2001-2004: I will just point out to one example. Tony Blair was interrogated for more than 10 hours. Premiers are being interrogated both by Ministry of Internal Affairs and by Prosecutions. There is no such immunity in normal democracies. Here, it was considered if Kostunica appears in court, Serbia would stop completely. And that’s how he build on his myth about being untouchable. However, an interesting question for this government will be: is the government ready to open these questions, and to publicly require, but this is the decision for prosecution or the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but also to court, independently, so the question is if the government will dare to politically come forward with the attitude the investigation about the assassination of Zoran Djindjic is not over? I would like that very much so, and if it happens, then, I would probably have a few things to add to this story, when they initiated their investigations, some of us would then have to say several things, the things we cannot claim now due to missing evidence.

In 2004, when Democratic Party of Serbia came to power, Milorad Ulemek Legija, the prime suspect for the premier’s murder, surrendered after fourteen months of hiding. Representative of Ruzica Djindjic in the court procedure, Srđa Popović, considers this as one of the reasons to investigate the role of Military Service.

Srđa Popović, lawyer: When I try to analyze how he could in the first place, be hidden for fourteen months, I come to the conclusion this could have been done only by the Military Security, because they were the only ones in “Saber” to drive around in their vehicles, without being stopped, and they were the only ones who had such hiding places wherein no one could look for him, because he perhaps was playing chess with Mladic. It was know that such…Mladic was hiding in these various bunkers and military warehouses and there was no better place for Legija to hide but on such a place. This explains how he managed to get out of his house without being stopped right away, because the entire state was looking for him, his photographs were everywhere, in media, televisions, posters. I think the mutual interest was to hide him.
Svetko Kovač, chief of the Military-Security Agency: I think all murder cases must be solved especially the murders of state officials, for these are not ordinary murder cases, and of course, possible roles of the security services also have to be disclosed. Even more important, I believe, is to find ways to prevent these to reappear in the future. Hence, to find ways for prevention, so that we won’t have to discuss in a few years again about misconduct of some service.

The committee headed by Žarko Korać made a report on omissions in the premier’s security measures. The report was published, with a concluding remarks suggesting an internal investigation should be initiated within Security-Information agency and Ministry of Internal Affairs. This never happened. The Committee members interviewed more than forty people, whose names and the conversations were classified as state secret. The Committee had access to transcripts of wiretapped conversations, but these as well as all addendums used to make the report were classified even then under a state secret. Until today, these classified information have not received security clearance, not even in the trial for Zoran Djindjic’s assassination.

Žarko Korać, vice president of the Serbian Government 2001-2004: That was not my decision, I thought it was illogical, however, the government didn’t accept it, but tried to protect these people, this was during the operation “Saber”, when it was still unclear how powerful was that Zemung gang, how mighty were criminals, Legija was still hiding. And then they said “someone will get hurt, some people that the Committee interviewed”, and so it didn’t get published, but as far as I’m concerned, if this question addresses me, I would like all the documents to be made available to the public.

It is unclear why, despite the findings on omissions, the details from the Committee’s report have not received security clearance. Insider requested from the Government of Serbia an access to these documents. The request was justified because after the trial verdict there was no ground to suppose damage to the investigation. The Government of Serbia responded ambiguously to our request: they stated the documents are classified as state secret and that the government solely has an authority to allow formal security clearance.

Commissioner for Information of public Interest, Rodoljub Saric, has warned the Government of Serbia to respect Freedom of Information Law.
Rodoljub Saric, Commissioner for Information of public Interest: Regarding the particular case, I don’t know if you know this, but the valid Internal Rule of the Government envisages that everything discussed at the Government meeting is a state secret, which is a paradox, a relict. Today, hence, I do not claim because I didn’t inspect those documents, because I am not authorized for Government deeds, and it’s logical to conclude the situation is quite different than five or six years ago, for sure. External reasons had changed since then. At least, the criminal procedure ended, the criminal procedure against perpetrators and assassination organizers, therefore, the identifiable reasons ceased to exist.
Insider filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court because the government of Serbia, formed by Democratic Party, still keeps under confidential classification the documents of public interest. Security clearance of these documents could reveal the possible role and responsibility of secret services in the assassination of the Serbian prime minister.

Bogoljub Milosavljević, professor of Administrative Law: That role is only partially revealed, within the trial procedure, in the part wherein certain members, a couple of people, participated in providing some information. However, the broader context is still missing, hence, determination of collective guilt or general assessment about the role of the Service members, or the Service itself in that matter. Of course, this wasn’t for a court of law to deal with, for courts deal with individual responsibility, responsibility of individuals for events, this was for some political assessment. It is still missing, as well as unfortunately a real reform within security services. I expected, for instance, that immediately after the assassination, and after all information came out, in front of the government, when it was clear what it was and the state of the affairs, that a serious reform will take place within the services. Unfortunately, this has never happened.

Until the assassination, various tabloids, with the help of the Service and certain politicians, made claims representing Zoran Djindjic as a prime minister of criminal government. This in fact, was a priori justification of the following murder, announced through media. Since many people unexpectedly attended the funeral, it became unpopular to accuse Djindjic furthermore, therefore, the campaign turned against his close associates, but with the same aim: to prove that his government was mafia-like organization. The same pattern was applied throughout tabloids. The thesis, implemented during the years by the order of people from the Service, albeit no real evidence, was that Djindjic was surrounded by people who robed and murdered. By the same pattern, helped by the same people, one of the closest Djindjic’s associates, Vladimir Popovic, was accused on a daily basis for various felonies. Tabloids’ front pages announced his arrest, claiming at the same time this was the only way to reveal mechanism of Djindjic’s mob government. When representatives of ngo, Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights, decided to request a public protection for Vladimir Popovic, regardless of their frequent critiques directed to the government decisions and Communication Bureau, a synchronized campaign had started against Biljana Kovačević Vučo as well. In 2004, Biljana Kovačević Vučo at a pres conference announced the ngo decided to publicly back up and protect Popovic, because, she claimed, the same pattern of lynch, used for the murdered premier, was being applied again, and therefore, it represented an announcement for murder.

Biljana Kovačević Vučo, Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights: I was really caught after “Kurir” published a text claiming that Rajko Danilovic, Cedomir Jovanovic, Jovan Prijic and I had set a testimony of a witness-collaborator Vukojevic, who was killed several years afterwards. Of course, I filded a lawsuit for this was really a dangerous claim, for spreading false information, no other felony. A prosecutor rejected it, he said: “it could eventually be a slander”, anyway, the suit was rejected and “Kurir” freed from responsibility. Doko Kesic as an editor, the text had no signature. Later on, I found, from our colleague Milan Simic, that he had found out about this text in Bjeljina, when he was a guest in TV show, that Jovica Krtinic, now a journalist in “Kurir”, previously in “Reporter”, told him the text was brought to “Kurir” directly by Aco Tomic. I couldn’t do anything about it. I can only say this, risking being sued. For example, if Jovica Krtinic, or Milan Simic won’t testify about it, or if Aco Tomic claims this to be untrue…this is something I found out about, but cannot do anything about it. This mean the Service, people close to the Service, it is well known that Aco Tomic, Rade Bulatovic were close at that time…So, this came directly from Rade Bulatovic, a direct machination of text, which can ruin your life. Because, it’s not harmless when a witness-collaborator, who is a protected witness, in danger from mafia and killed by mafia later in the most cruel way, when a text gets published claiming you have set up his account. It means you have coached him about his court testimony. That’s not a small thing. This is what the Service does. But this is one things that cannot get a breakthrough in this state, not even as a lawsuit for slander.

Nevertheless, even today, secret services work without any control. A law was passed on, according to the Service control is reduced to absurd, hence, members of the parliament are in charge of work by the Security-Information agency, event though they know very little about it. Twice a year, reports are submitted to Parliament Committee for security. Files have not received clearance. Since 2001, evidence point out the Service’s documentation was destroyed, but no one was charged with the felony. A disc containing files of the opposition leaders was taken out of the Service, its final destination is still unknown, but the top officials of the Milosevic’s Service, by a recent court decision, were exonerated. The Service participated in all affairs, it created political parties and political situation in the country. The majority is still employed in the services. True reforms never happened.

Srđa Popović, lawyer: I think that after all, a huge mistake was made because there was not a joint trial for the assassinations of Djindjic and Stambolic, and for an attempted assassination, actually, two assassination attempts on Vuk Draskovic, and for many other things included in this last trial, in the trial against the Zemun gang. If all these were trialed together, it would become obvious and clear everything was happening in the same way, that modus operandi was always the same, that always the same petty criminals appear, Special Operation unit, Secret Service, and in one case Milosevic appeared- and probably in some other as well. So, I think because these were separate procedures, cases, this uniform methodology was not so obvious only participation of the Service was seen, but it would be much clearer if these have been processed in one trial case, for then you would have also the case of Curuvija, similar to the case of Vuk, and that’s how police is working, they recognize perpetrators by their behavior, system, special signatures. This wasn’t done here, and hence you got an impression these were all some separate cases.

The Service was involved in this same pattern, for all victims. All victims were under surveillance, wiretapped and had experienced media lynch. Despite all these, security services are forbidden zones of the society, protected from reforms, control and in many instances from criminal responsibility. Who leads the Service? Where is the Service power center? Who pull the strings and why the committed felonies cannot be investigated? Not a single government provided answers to these questions so far. An order by the top political officials to the Department of state security service to kill a member of emigration, or later on an order to the State security Service to kill Ivan Stambolic, Slavko Curuvija or Vuk Draskovic, sounded completely the same within the Service. In the former Yugoslavia, former Department of state security service controlled the major export enterprises; in the same way, later on, State security Service led businesses involving smuggling oil, cigarettes and drugs. The Service has not changed in almost past twenty years. The secret of the Service is in its agents. The agents who processed people labeled as enemies by the Milosevic’s regime, agents who ordered surveillances or who were on call at the time of murders, those same have served the Service blindly, and hence manage to keep their positions. Some of them managed to advance in career, despite governmental change after October 5th.

Mirko Vujadinovic, agent who was in charge of the processing (surveillance and wiretapping) Ivan Stambolic before his kidnapping and murder, after October 5th became in charge with internal investigation about Stambolic disappearance. Rade Bulatovic, at the time Kostunica was in power, appointed Vujadinovic as a chief of technical department; before he left Security-Information Agency, Bulatovic appointed Vujadinovic into special consultant, which provided him with all benefits for the following pension.

Vlada Durica is another agent who had worked in the Stambolic case; regardless of it, when Rade Bulatovic was the Service director, he became a deputy to chief of counter-intelligence protection.

Nikola Bajic was, at the same time Stanisic was the Service director, a chief of the department in charge of opposition, who personally led processing of Vuk Draskovic; after October 5th he got transferred to a less important function, but later on, Rade Bulatovic revoked him from retirement, appointed him as chief of cabinet and finally, as chief of operational department.

Goran Kuzmanovic worked in processing opposition leaders when Stanisic was the Service director. At the time Rade Bulatovic was the Servic director, he became a deputy to chief of the most important, counter-intelligence administration. Today he is a chief of human resources. 

Predgar Gikic, another agent, led processing of Slavko Curuvija. When Rade Bulatovic was the Service director, he became a chief of international department for cooperation, and today he is a chief of operational department.

Misa Vilotic was a chief of the 3rd department when Stanisic was the Service director. He kept the same position for years, in the department dealing with inner enemy, that is, opposition. His informer was Vojislav Seselj. Today he is engaged in private enterprise.

Milan Radonjic signed the processing of Ivan Stambolic. He became a chief of the Belgrade Service Center just before Slavko Curuvija was murdered. He requested information about Curuvija’s whereabouts on every ten minutes. He was accused but later exonerated of all charges regarding the Ibar highway murder case. He is a private entrepreneur today.Stevan Mikcevic was a deputy to Milan Radonjic. Today he is a director of “Jugoinport SDPR”. He is considered to be the most powerful man in the state by many people, for he serves in Board of the enterprise seated by many ministers of police and defense. He came in conflict with the Service top officials in 1999; he then left the Service, and according to media, it was his merit that brought about the case “Curan” to the public.

Al these agents were trained when Jovica Stanisic was the Service’s chief. His chiefdom lasted seven and a half years, during which the Service prepared wars in the former Yugoslavia, formed certain opposition parties, participated in cigarette smugglings and money transfers to Cyprus. Many witnesses claim that Stanisic, even after Ocotber 5th, contributed to a number of affairs that have shaken up the Service and the state. In 2003, he was arrested in “Saber”, today he is at liberty, waiting for trial in front of Hague Tribunal. He is accused of war crimes.

Stanisic’s closest associate, Franko Simatovic, shares similar destiny. Simatovic formed a combat unit within the Service, that is, Special Operation unit, which included many people with criminal background. This Unit provided shooters in political assassinations.

Simatovic’s alias was “F1”, while “F2” was assigned to Dragan Filipovic Fica. Filipovic was employed by the Service for a long time, and he was in charge for special operations. During “Saber” he fled the country, but has published a book in the meantime wherein, among others things, he justifies the murder of the Serbian Premier, Slavko Curuvija and Ivan Stambolic. The book provides description of many crimes but the Serbian Prosecution never acted upon it. Goran Radosavljevic Guri, former chief of Gendarmerie, and Tomislav Durin, military security officer, current chief of the Security Service within Ministry of Internal Affairs, served as reviewers for the book.

New people were brought to the Service by Radomir Markovic, the Service’s chief from 1998-2001. During this time, opponents of Milosevic’s regime were assassinated. Nikola Curcic was his closest assistant, who died in 2006. Markovic’s another assistant was Branko Crni, removed from the service in 2001, but never convicted formally.

Markovic’s chief of wiretapping department was Zoran Mangotic; he, along with Yugoslav Left Party official, Goran Matic, constructed accusations against “Pauk” group. He also conducted security for Yugoslav Left Party security service. Radisa Roksic, another agent, was in charge for department of surveillance and logistic preparation of assassinations. In 2004, he served as a chief of counter-intelligence administration. In 2006, in media statement, he announced his deposition from the Service.

Ratko Romnic was a chief of department providing logistic support to dirty businesses. His vehicle was seen on the spot of Curuvija’s murder place. He was arrested in “Saber”. He is on the run at present. At the time Curuvija was murdered, an officer on call in the Belgrade Center was Cvijetin Milinkovic; he held the same position at the time four officials of Serbian Renewal Movement got killed at Ibar highway, on October 3rd, the same year. He was appointed a chief of the Belgrade center by the merit of Milorad Barcanovic. He died in 2006.

Milorad Bracanovic was a security officer in Special Operation Unit from 1996, at the time murderers were recruited from this unit. By the influence of Milorad Ulemek Legija and a victory of the Service over the Government formed by Zoran Djindjic, he became a deputy to the chief of Service. He was convicted to two years of prison due to complicity in the murder of Ivan Stambolic. He was a witness in the trial case for Djindjic’s murder. In 2001, when he became a deputy to the chief, he deposited almost everybody appointed before by Goran Petrovic and Zoran Mijatovic- that is, he deposited almost everybody who had worked after October 5th on revealing crimes from the Milosevic’s regime. Therefore, certain Radomir Markovic’s and Stanisic’s agents were returned to the Service.

In January 2003, two months prior to the premier’s assassination, by the decision of Zoran Djindjic, Misa Milicevic and Goran Zivaljevic were appointed as the top officials of the Service. They tried to depose Bracanovic’s agents. However, they remained on their respective positions only until 2004; Vojislav Kostunica unseated them, appointing Rade Bulatovic as a chief of the Security-Information Agency.

Previously, Bulatovic was arrested in “Saber”, under accusation he had contacts with the Zemun gang as Kostunica’s consultant for national security. Later on, he got remuneration from the state for his arrest in “Saber”.

In 2004, Rade Bulatovic deposed employees appointed by his precedents and appointed people appointed by Bracanovic. Hence, he appointed Milan Djurovic as a chief of the Agency learning center, and afterwards as a consultant to the chief of Service; Djurovic was a chief of department dealing with inner enemy when Rade Markovic was the Service’s chief.

Bulatovic’s consultant, Rajko Savic, was formerly a chief of the 5th department. Savic was a chief of department in charge for Hague indicted fugitives, and at the same time, he served as a member of football club Cukaricki, led by Zivadin Mihajlovic’s family, a former Serbian Socialist Party top official, nicked named Zika Mustikla. He was accused of hiding Ratko Mladic. Today, he is a special consultant to the chief.

These are just a few examples showing how for years, one and the same people got rotated and advanced within the Service. The reform was reduced to rotating agents- each new chief of Service would change agents in such way to revoke the old ones back. Interestingly, people appointed by Zoran Djindjic as the Service top officials- Goran Petrovic in 2001, and Misa Milicevic in 2003, chose similar agents, while later on, Rade Bulatovic relied on the same people as Milorad Bracanovic did. One deposited the agents appointed by Stanisic, and the other deposited agents appointed by Markovic. In essence, these rotations have kept the status quo. Many have stayed protected from criminal responsibility. According to Insider sources, a number of the Service members were sent to polygraph test regarding the murder of the Serbian Premier. Some of them failed at the test, but these data have remained a top secret. This all points out to the fact that the Service, regardless of all felonies and lacking true reform, can survive every government.

OFFICAL SECRET