[JURIST] Four former Serbian secret service agents pleaded not guilty to murder charges on Monday relating to the 1999 slaying of journalist Slavko Curuvija [b92 report]. Curuvija, an outspoken critic of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic [Telegraph profile], was shot and killed outside his apartment in an assassination planned by former Serbian spy agency chief Radomir Markovic. Milosevic’s wife, Mirjana Markovic [Guardian profile], accused Curuvija of being a supporter of NATO in their war against Serbia [PBS backgrounder] days before he was killed. Milosevic died in 2006 while on trial for war crimes, and his former wife has been granted political asylum in Russia.
The long-delayed trial in the death of Slavko Curuvija demonstrates that Serbia is attempting, in some respects, to remedy past human rights issues. Despite these efforts, the UN and other groups have often appealed to the Serbian government in an attempt to improve their adherence to human rights tenets. In 2011 Amnesty International (AI) entreated [JURIST report] the Serbian government to stop the forced eviction of Roma, and to provide them with adequate housing and compensation. In 2012 the High Commissioner for Human Rights urged [JURIST report] Serbia to protect universal freedoms by lifting a ban on a pride parade for the LGBT community. This past April Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report criticizing [JURIST report] the alleged extortion and physical abuse inflicted by Serbian authorities on asylum-seekers and migrants escaping war-torn countries. Last month the UN called on [JURIST report] the Serbian government to take immediate action to improve the current housing crisis that has left many Serbian citizens without adequate housing. While Serbia boasts a high rate of homeownership due to the privatization and sale of public housing stock in the 1990s, homeowners and renters reportedly suffer from inadequate living arrangements.