The Prosecutor's Office in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated part has on Thursday publicly summoned a journalist who has frequently been writing about the controversial death of a young man, which sparked a series of protests, to give a statement to prosecutors regarding the case.
The death of David Dragicevic has been shaking the Serb-dominated semi-autonomous entity in Bosnia, Republika Srpska (RS), since the body of the 21-year old was found in a local river in March.
An informal group of citizens gathered under the slogan 'Justice for David' has held a series of protests in the administrative centre of the RS, Banja Luka, since police in a press conference end of March qualified Dragicevic’s death as accidental.
The Justice for David group, led by the young man’s father, Davor Dragicevic, suspects foul play. Davor Dragicevic has been saying his son was tortured and brutally murdered and he directly accused officials in the Interior Ministry of Republika Srpska of being behind the murder and cover it up.
The RS Prosecutor’s Office later reclassified the young man’s death as a murder case, and two police officers were indicted for tampering with evidence.
Local investigative journalist Slobodan Vaskovic has been writing about the case on his blog frequently since March, also accusing RS Interior Ministry officials of involvement in the killing and cover-up.
After the RS Special Prosecutor's Office publicly asked Vaskovic to give a statement on Thursday, Vaskovic said that he will only do so if authorities hand him such a request personally. Vaskovic said that he has submitted a copy of his ID to the head of the RS Special Prosecutors Office, Miodrag Bajic, so that he could receive Bajic’s request directly. The journalist said that the request had before been left in front of the door of an apartment owned by his children, where he himself is not even registered as residing.
“Bajic, I have since March 26 this year daily been writing about who organised, ordered and executed the grave murder of David Dragicevic and who is covering up this crime,” Vaskovic wrote on his blog on Thursday.
“I am a free man and I can move whenever and wherever I want to, and I don’t even want to consider staying at this address and waiting for you to hand me the request,” Vaskovic wrote.
The RS Special Prosecutor’s Office said it has made the request for Vaskovic to come to their office to give a statement on October 16 public because the journalist had been avoiding being handed the request. Should Vaskovic not comply, he could be fined to the tune of 5,000 BAM.
A coalition of opposition parties in the RS, the ‘Alliance for Victory’, has also released a statement on Thursday, urging the RS Prosecutor's Office to work on solving the murder of Dragicevic instead of questioning journalists.
“The Alliance for Victory is calling upon the RS Public Prosecutor to check Vaskovic’s claims as soon as possible,” the Alliance’s statement said, adding that “Vaskovic has for months already been writing and presenting evidence regarding the murder of David Dragicevic, while the RS Public Prosecutor is still silent regarding this case and is not replying to any inquiries.”
Meanwhile, Thursday was also marked by yet another gathering of the ‘Justice for David’ group in Banja Luka. It was the 200th time the group gathered at a town square where David’s father once again repeated his accusations against the RS Interior Ministry officials in a speech.