SECRETS OF CRIME – MURDER OF DUSKO JOVANOVIC: Prosecutor General Obstructed Investigation Upon Mandic’s Confession

This investigation is part of the JFJ Investigative Grant Programme and has been originally published by the crime and corruption reporting network LUPA.

Former chief of Podgorica Police Department, Milan Vujanovic, said that former Supreme State Prosecutor Vesna Medenica obstructed the investigation into the murder of the editor-in-chief of the daily “Dan”, Dusko Jovanovic.

Vujanovic claims that Medenica knew from the very beginning about the official note, that is, the confession of the only person convicted for the murder of Damir Mandic, but that she did not react and immediately sent the prosecutor to the police building in Podgorica. As it later turned out, that was the key thing, which influenced the murder to never be fully clarified.

The famous official note was made by the Podgorica police on June 5, 2004, just a few days after Jovanovic’s murder. It records that Mandic described in detail the role of Vuk Vulevic in that crime, who was never prosecuted. Vujanovic is ready to testify about the obstructions of the investigation in state bodies.
“We have a detained person whom we suspect of participating in the crime. He was taken into custody sometime around midnight. According to the law, we had the opportunity to take an adequate statement, which would be evidence in criminal proceedings, and the condition for that is that the statement is taken by the state prosecutor, a police official, the suspect’s lawyer, and the suspect. This did not happen because the competent prosecutors came to do it 13 hours after the police call, and in fact the arrests”, said Vujanovic for the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network – LUPA.

Milan Vujanovic  

He added that an official note is an unofficial act used by the police to record a particular event and the circumstances that preceded that event.

“That official note (about the interrogation of Damir Mandic) was made by authorized officials, I can’t say the names now – all that is already known and everything is in the court documents, which were handed over to me as the chief. I immediately urged everyone I need to urge in the institution, the director of police, (Assistant Minister MicoOrlandic, and everyone else, and after a very short time, the competent state prosecutor received that information, that is, he received that famous official note”, Vujanovic said.

He pointed out that they first had a meeting with the then Supreme State Prosecutor Vesna Medenica, who later became the President of the Supreme Court of Montenegro.

“First, we had a meeting with Vesna Medenica, the Supreme State Prosecutor, and her associates in the office of Mićo Orlandić (former Assistant Minister of the Interior) and we presented everything we have, down to the smallest detail. I informed them all and of course, I asked her then, knowing what job awaited us, that the competent prosecutor be someone who is a little more experienced, stronger in communication with the police. But also who can better understand what all this problem can be and what are the criminal groups against which we should act. Of course, I didn’t get that, and then it even happened that I testified in court and was asked about the official note, even though it was handed over to the prosecution the same night… There was no prosecutor in that case directing the police, without sending requests, without sending orders, without going anywhere”, Vujanovic said.

Now the late lawyer Budimir Budo Darmanovic said that the official record of Mandic’s interrogation was never certified.

“This official note has not been officially registered. If all that had been done, it would have had the power of evidence and would have served and would probably have been an indicator that proceedings should be conducted against all persons identified by Damir Mandic as persons who participated in the murder of Dusko Jovanovic”, Darmanovic said.

Investigative judge Radomir Raco Ivanovic said that if he had been the prosecutor, he would have gone to the Podgorica police building that evening.

“I would have gone to the police if I had been a prosecutor. As a judge, I would never enter the police building, because I have nothing to do with the police… I don’t know why the prosecutor didn’t go that evening”, said Ivanovic.

Documentation from the investigation of Jovanovic’s murder     

Deputy Director of the National Police, Dejan Knezevic, said that he believed that the untimely reaction of the prosecution, ie the postponement of the interrogation of the suspect, determined the further course of the investigation.

“If the person (Damir Mandic) had been questioned in a timely manner and the necessary information had been collected, I think that this crime would have been fully or completely clarified”, Knezevic said.

Former director of the National Police and current advisor for defense and security of the President of the state, Veselin Veljovic, claimed that there was no official note on the interrogation of Damir Mandic made on June 5, 2004. Veljovic also submitted such information to the court, but it turned out to be incorrect. Milan Vujanovic pointed out that there are still a lot of professionals and honest people in the State Prosecutor’s Office of Montenegro.

“Why didn’t we get any of those who are both, that is, who have all possible human qualities plus top professional qualities? We didn’t get them. I will not talk about hiring Novak Raznatovic (now a former prosecutor) because I was not his boss. It is known who was his boss. Whoever was his boss, he should have sent him within half an hour of our information about what was happening there, and something important was happening there. For the murder of Dusko Jovanovic, the sole culprit for the poor results in the investigation is the Supreme State Prosecutor Vesna Medenica. All I know is that as a police chief and a member of the investigation team, I asked for an emergency meeting and got it. Vesna Medenica came to that meeting in Mićo Orlandić’s office. We held two meetings in two days, but the first was important where everything was presented in the smallest detail and the result was zero. Crossed zero “, Vujanovic pointed out.

Medenica: I am submissive to professionalism.

Vesna Medenica refused to talk about the case of the murder of Dusko Jovanovic.

“Thank you for the offer, but the professionalism to which I am submissive limits me to this type of cooperation. If the competent state authorities believe that my statement would be useful to them, I will be happy to respond”, said Medenica. Deputy Director of the National Police, Dejan Knezevic, pointed out that it is necessary to determine who the perpetrators and organizers of the crimes are.

“The newly formed team of the Police Administration is collecting new possible evidence, new information, but at the same time, we are analyzing the actions or inaction of state bodies in the previous period. I can say that so far we have not recognized that any of the state bodies or institutions covered up the traces or obstructed the investigation. In case it is determined that someone did that, we will be happy to prosecute him in accordance with the law”, Knezevic said.

Damir Mandic, as the only known actor in Jovanovic’s murder, was arrested in early June 2004. He was acquitted by a decision of the Judicial Council of Judge Radovan Mandic at the end of 2006 due to lack of evidence. However, after several years of trial, Mandic was sentenced in April 2016 to 19 years in prison for complicity in the murder of Jovanovic. No one else has been charged with that crime, and the perpetrators have not been prosecuted either.

Over the years, the media reported that Jovanovic was killed for writing about the tobacco mafia and that people close to the former State Security Service (SDB), now the National Security Agency (ANB), played a role in his murder.

Graphics – Related people

Vulevic was amnestied twice – just before the murders of Raspopovic and Jovanovic.

According to the data that the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network – LUPA received from the Ministry of Justice, Vuk Vulevic was released from the prison in Spuž a few months before the murder of Dusko Jovanovic before the end of his prison sentence. On October 31, 2003, the then director of the state prison, Zeljko Jocic, who was later Damir Mandic’s lawyer, made a decision to release Vulevic on parole. Probation lasted until December 7, 2003, but Vulevic did not return to serve his prison sentence.

Vuk Vulevic    

The ZIKS documentation states that he received an amnesty so that he would not have to serve another 27 days in prison. He was also amnestied on December 21, 2000, by a decision of the Ministry of Justice, on the basis of the then Amnesty Law. It is interesting that only 17 days after Vulevic was released, a high-ranking secret police official, Darko Beli Raspopovic, was killed in the center of Podgorica. Despite suspicions that Vulevic could be held responsible, he was never officially charged with the killings and no evidence of his involvement was gathered.

LUPA publishes the contents of the official note on the interrogation of Damir Mandić: official note.

Secrets of Crime – Murder of Dusko Jovanovic

As part of the investigation, the documentary about the murder of Dusko Jovanovic was released. The investigative documentary Secrets of Crime – Murder of Dusko Jovanovic reveals new details related to the investigation of that most serious crime when it comes to attacks on journalists in Montenegro. LUPA revealed how the crime was committed, who are the main actors, what are the main omissions in the investigation, who obstructed the murder investigation and whose responsibility is why, after 17 years since Jovanovic’s murder, the public has no information about who ordered and who committed the crime.