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Croatia, Serbia indict eight for publisher's killing

Ivo Pukanic, independent editor and publisher, presents the logo of a new daily newspaper, 'Republika', in Zagreb on November 17, 2000. REUTERS/Nikola Solic

ZAGREB (Reuters) - Croatia and Serbia have indicted eight men in two separate investigations for last year’s killing of an influential Croatian newspaper publisher in Zagreb, state prosecutors said Monday.

Croatian prosecutors have charged six men accused of killing Ivo Pukanic, owner of Nacional political weekly which often investigated organized crime, prosecutors said on their website.

Pukanic was assassinated in October last year by a car bomb that also killed one of his colleagues in a parking lot outside his office in downtown Zagreb.

Serbian prosecutors have indicted Sreten Jocic, a wealthy Belgrade businessman already indicted for two other murders, and two of his associates, the Serbian prosecutor said Monday. One man was indicted in both countries.

Pukanic’s murder came on the heels of other violent incidents in the Croatian capital and prompted then Prime Minister Ivo Sanader to sack the justice and interior ministers.

It also brought about unprecedented close cooperation of police in Croatia and Serbia, former foes from the wars that followed Yugoslavia’s disintegration in the 1990s.

Jocic has been under house arrest since 2006 in his villa in Belgrade’s upscale Dedinje neighborhood, where he is on bail pending the end of court proceedings.

Croatia and Serbia have stepped up efforts to combat organized crime and corruption, key conditions for the two countries to join the European Union.

Reporting by Zoran Radosavljevic, Editing by Adam Tanner