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Last Despatches: Remembering the Journalists Killed in the Balkan Wars

Around 140 journalists and media workers were killed during and after the violent break-up of Yugoslavia, but only one person has ever been convicted of responsibility for any of their deaths.

Balkan Investigative Reporting Network’s new Last Despatches series documents some of the 140 reporters and other media workers who were killed during and after the 1990s wars in the Balkans – some of them foreigners who came to the region to cover the conflicts, but most of them citizens of the warring republics.

Some were killed while reporting from the front lines, while others were gunned down in the streets of their hometowns, or murdered in their own offices. Amid the hysteria of nationalist unrest, journalists were seen by some as enemies who reported inconvenient truths.

So far, only one person has been convicted of responsibility for any of these killings – Serb paramilitary boss Dragan Vasiljkovic, alias ‘Captain Dragan’, who was found guilty of an attack in Croatia in which a German journalist died.

The lack of any other convictions shows that impunity for violence against reporters and other media workers has persisted for decades after the Balkan wars ended.

Last Despatches series tells the stories of some of these reporters, and highlights how attempts to secure justice for them have not yet succeeded – mainly because of official negligence or disinterest, or sometimes because their deaths still raise questions about people with connections to the highest levels of power in the Balkans today.

The series begins with reports on four prominent cases, with more profiles to follow in the coming months.

More on BalkanInsight.