Serb Bar Association Strikes After Murder of Milosevic's Lawyer

(Bloomberg) -- Belgrade’s Bar Association is staging a week-long strike to protest against the killing of prominent Serbian lawyer Dragoslav Ognjanovic, who was on the defense team of late leader Slobodan Milosevic and represented organized-crime figures in high-profile trials.

The lawyers are demanding better protection and security for its members following a long string of similar attacks, according to the statement posted on its website Tuesday. Ognjanovic was shot dead near his Belgrade home on Saturday. Police have no suspects.

The attack underscores the former Yugoslav state’s struggle to improve the rule of law as it tries to overhaul its economy and institutions to join the European Union next decade. According to the Belgrade-based newspaper Blic, 50 lawyers have been attacked in the past decade, with three killed. The most recent high-profile case was the 2015 murder of Vladimir Zrelec, whose clients also included members of the criminal underworld.

The strike aims to “alert the public to the risks that lawyers in Serbia face daily,” the group said. It demanded that authorities to use “all available resources, without delay, to shed light on this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Serbia’s Interior Ministry said on Tuesday it had replaced the head of Belgrade’s police and a chief of an elite unit. It didn’t say if the changes were related to Ognjanovic’s murder.

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