Police officers secure the scene where unknown assailants opened fire and killed Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic in front of his office in North Mitrovica. Photo: BETA, AP Photo/Bojan Slavkovic.

Kosovo Police arrests two over Serb politician Ivanovic’s murder

Kosovo police arrested two suspects, including one Serb policeman, in the town of Mitrovica early on Wednesday in connection with last year’s murder of Kosovo Serb political party leader Oliver Ivanovic.

Kosovo police said they arrested two suspects – one of them a police officer – in the north of Mitrovica early on Wednesday morning in connection with the unsolved murder of Oliver Ivanovic in January 2018.

Another suspect, also a policeman, is also wanted for arrest, police added.

“I can confirm that early hours of the morning today, Kosovo Police undertook an operation in North Mitrovica related to the case of the murder of Oliver Ivanovic,” Kosovo police spokesperson Baki Kelani said in a written statement.

A weapon was found when one suspect was arrested. “In addition to that, two other weapons and ammunition were found during the operation,” Kelani added.

Kelani explained that both police officers are Serbs.

Kosovapress and Tanjug news agency reported that the name of the arrested officer is Rade Basara, and that he was working on the Ivanovic case and is suspected of hiding evidence, while the man who is wanted is a police commander in charge of North Mitrovica, Zeljko Bojic.

The head of the Serbian government’s office for Kosovo, Marko Djuric, accused Kosovo police of “playing with peace” and said that they had “taken Bojic’s son, Vasilije Bojic, away in an unknown direction” because his father is at large.

“Their [Kosovo police’s] intention is to blame Serbs for the murder,” Djuric told Tanjug.

The special prosecutor dealing with the Ivanovic case, Syle Hoxha, told BIRN that the two police officers who are suspects in the case are “suspected of hiding evidence and organised crime”.

“R.B. was arrested while Z.B. could not be found, but police arrested his son because he was found in possession of a weapon although there was no order for his arrest,” Hoxha said.

Ivanovic, the leader of the Freedom, Democracy, Justice party, was gunned down in front of his party’s office in the North of Mitrovica on January 16, 2018.

The Kosovo authorities arrested four individuals in relation to the case in November 2018. Two of them are still remanded in custody.

The authorities also named Milan Radoicic, vice-president of the main Belgrade-backed Kosovo Serb political party, Srpska Lista, as a suspect.

Radoicic, a businessman, is widely seen as the real power-holder in Serb-majority northern Kosovo.

He avoided arrest November 2018 and moved to Serbia, where the authorities have asserted that he is innocent. He denies involvement in the murder of Ivanovic.

Once seen as a hardline nationalist, Ivanovic had evolved into a political moderate who advocated coexistence between Kosovo’s Serb minority and Albanian majority.

He had also become increasingly vocal in his criticism of the Belgrade government.

At the time of his death, he was being retried for ordering the murder of Kosovo Albanians during the war in Kosovo in 1999. He pleaded not guilty.

and 16/10/2019 - 09:32

16 October 2019 - 09:32

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.