Request to Access Information of Public Importance Related to the Bombing of the RTS Building

On 10 September 2007 the Humanitarian Law Center, Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM, Centre for Cultural Decontamination, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, Women in Black and the Youth Initiative for Human Rights submitted a request to the Ministry of Defence, on the basis of article 15, clause 1 of the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance (Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia, No. 120/04), to disclose information of public importance connected to the bombing of the building of Radio-Television Serbia (RTS).

According to information of non-government organizations, the archives of the Ministry of Defence store documentation which proves that the Army Headquarters in Belgrade had timely information on the imminent attack on the RTS building in the night between 22 and 23 April 1999.

The reference numbers under which the documents were registered are clearly stated and it has been confirmed that the mentioned documentation  –  the transcript of the intercepted conversation between the pilot of the NATO aeroplane with his base and two official minutes related to this event  –   had been in the possession of Đorđe Trifunović, the Defence Prosecutor of the Command of RV and PVO (War Air Forces and Anti Air Attack Defence) and Milan Radosavljević, Deputy Defence War Prosecutor of the First Army Command, as official personnel investigating the above subject.

Due to persistent denial that this documentation is stored in the archives of the Ministry of Defence, the signatories of this letter request from the Ministry of Defence to provide them access to the said documentation and all available copies of the documentation filed within the Legal Directorate of the Ministry of Defence under reference No 406-2/01 of 10 August 2001 and the Ministry of Defence Secretariat under reference No 1114-2 of 2 August 2001.

Although, based on article 15, clause 4 of the Law on Free Access to Information, the solicitants do not have to state the reasons to access the information requested, these are abvious enough.  The public has every justified and legitimate interest to access this information, not only because of the obligation of the state to communicate the truth to the next of kin and family members of the killed RTS employees, but also for the fact that by hiding this information there is an attempt to iternally close the issue of irresponsible and illegal acts of the then state authorities and highest officials of public authorities, which resulted in the fatal and grave consequences upon the employees of RTS, with which the citizens of Serbia must be acquainted once and for all.