Death of Serbian Prime Minister Mourned
Freedom House mourns the tragic death of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, who was assassinated today outside the main government building in Belgrade.
The leading force behind the Alliance for Change, a wide-ranging coalition of political leaders, Prime Minister Djindjic helped pave the way for Serbia's democratic transition. He was a leader of a broad alliance of democratic civic groups that defeated Slobodan Milosevic in elections in October 2000, the results of which Milosevic attempted to reverse. Djindjic helped lead a peaceful mass protest movement that ultimately forced Milosevic from office.
As prime minister, he led a determined effort to bring to justice those responsible for war crimes during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. Up until his murder, he was leading Serbia in its efforts to build a democratic system and re-integrate into the international community.
"This is a shocking, tragic loss for Serbia and its efforts at reconciling its past and ensuring its democratic future," said Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor. "Freedom House worked closely with Zoran Djindjic, first in efforts to bring democracy to Serbia, and later through our programs to support the country's democratic transition. We hope that this violent and senseless act will spur Serbia's democrats to unify in the defense of their basic freedoms," she said. "Such unity will enable Serbia to continue to move forward on the path toward democracy."
Freedom House operates an office in Belgrade where it administers a range of pro-democracy programs. It is also actively engaged in the country's truth and reconciliation process. In November, 1999, it organized the first visit to the United States of Mr. Djindjic as one of the leaders of the Alliance for Change
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.