Parents of the boys killed in the ‘Panda’ cafe say Vucic refuses to meet with them

Translation provided by KoSSev

The father of Svetislav Ristic (18), who was killed in the Pec cafe „Panda“, Ljubomir Ristic, said today that 20 days after the last request for an audience with the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, was filed, no one from the president’s office has contacted the families of the murdered young men.

The parents of the six young men slain in the „Panda“ cafe in 1998 have been seeking an audience with the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, for six years in vain. Back in 2013, it was Vucic who announced that the massacre in „Panda“ was not committed by ethnic Albanians.

„Since September 5th, 2017, we have reached out to the office of the President of Serbia more than 10 times, asking for an audience with President Vucic, however, we have not received a single reply. We submitted the last request on December 23rd of last year,“ Ristic told Beta news agency.

He added that they also requested the Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime, where the investigation was launched, to question Vucic due to the findings he publicly shared about the „Panda“ crime, noting that this request was not accepted either.

Ristic added that the families of the murdered boys would have to organize themselves and make an „extra effort“ in order to obtain an audience with President Vucic.

Lazar Obradovic, the father of the murdered Ivan (15), said that the parents expect the President of Serbia to reveal to them everything he knows about the „Panda case“.

„State services and Vucic know who ordered, organized, and killed the children in ‘Panda’. It is unacceptable that the truth has been hidden for more than 24 years and that the president of Serbia refuses to talk to us,“ Obradovic pointed out.

After searching for the truth for 24 years, the parents of the murdered children say that they have no doubt that the decision on the massacre in „Panda“ was made by the state top.

„Mr. President, you know and we parents know that the murder of our sons in the cafe ‘Panda’ in Pec was a state matter that was decided at the top of the state. It is state terrorism par excellence. We point out that there are other reasons for our audience, which we will present in the conversation with you, so that the authority leading the proceedings, after almost 24 years, will prosecute the crime,“ reads one of the requests for an audience with President Vucic, which the parents submitted on June 6th of 2022.

The families of the murdered boys believe that the state is trying to cover up its own crime.

Ljubomir Ristic stated that since September 17th, 2017, the families of those killed have asked the Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime „countless“ times to undertake the remaining investigative actions and requested admission to the prosecutor’s office seven times, but that they were rejected each time.

„Considering the fact that we do not have any answers from the Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime about our requests, everything indicates that nothing has been done and that the investigation has been halted,“ Ristic said.

On December 14th, 1998, two masked persons shot and killed Ivan Obradovic (15), Vukota Gvozdenovic (16), Svetislav Ristic (18), and Zoran Stanojevic (18), Ivan Radevic (24) and Dragan Trifovic (18), severely wounded Vlado Loncarevic (18), and lightly wounded Mirsad Sabovic (34) and Nikola Rajovic (18), in the cafe „Panda“, frequented by Pec high school students.

Until December 28th, 2013, the families of the murdered young men and the public were convinced that the crime was committed by members of the KLA.

On that day, however, the then first Vice-President of the Government of Serbia and head of the Bureau for Security Services’ Work Coordination, Aleksandar Vucic, revealed in the show „Teska rec“ on TV Pink:

„The crime in ‘Panda’ was not committed by Albanians, as we believed until now. The public will be appalled when the truth is revealed.“

Vucic later told reporters that he is almost certain he knows what happened in „Panda“, but that „there is no evidence“ and that the investigative authorities of Serbia cannot „pride themselves“ on how they carried out the investigation.

„We could write a book in three volumes about how much effort we put into preventing the cover-up of the tragedy in ‘Panda.’ Everything points to the fact that there is a connection between certain state authorities never revealing who ordered, organized, and killed our children. Our families are scattered across Serbia and Montenegro, some parents of the murdered boys have since passed away without ever learning the truth. That’s why we appeal to the public, especially journalists, to help us uncover the truth about the murder of our sons,“ concluded Ljubomir Ristic.

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