Prominent journalist's murder roils Croatia
Croatian leaders link the car bomb that killed Ivo Pukanic to criminal underworld. It's the latest in a string of attacks that may hinder Croatia's European Union bid.
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Croatian news website Javno.org reports that Pukanic had been allegedly been the target of organized crime before. Pukanic was reportedly attacked by a gun-wielding assailant in April, though he fended off his attacker with his own gun. Javno.org writes that critics accused Pukanic of staging the attack, but Pukanic denied the rumors.Skip to next paragraph
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"Unfortunately, this means that the state has lost this round of crackdown on crime. This is big blow to Croatia's political system, it shows the system's inefficiency in fighting crime," said Davor Butkovic, an editor of wide-selling Jutarnji List daily. ...
Earlier this month, the daughter of a well-known lawyer was shot twice in the head in the stairway of the building where she lived, not far from the Zagreb police headquarters.
Also this year, a prominent crime reporter was beaten up on the street, a member of the Zagreb city administration was beaten up with baseball bats and the chief executive of a major construction firm was assaulted with iron bars in September.
The Daily Telegraph notes that Croatia's problems with organized crime began in the 1990s, during the dissolution of Yugoslavia. According to analysts, Croatia's admission to the European Union, scheduled for 2012, could be hindered by the nation's continuing crime problem, adds the Telegraph. AFP reported earlier this month that the EU's concerns about Croatia stem largely from experiences with Romania and Bulgaria, both recent additions to the Union. Both nations continue to struggle with corruption and crime, and the EU does not wish a repeat in Croatia.
"It is clear that EU will not tolerate a situation similar to that in Bulgaria, with serious disfunctioning in the judiciary and fight against organized crime," said a diplomatic source on condition of anonymity.
"Without strong measures, and notably without concrete results, Zagreb risks to see the pace of the negotiations slowing down," the diplomat added.