Kosovo Police and officials of the Agency for Confiscation and Management of Seized Assets at Restaurant Grey in North Mitrovica, March 4, 2024. Photo: BIRN/Florinda Kelmendi

Kosovo Seizes Property of Northern Serb Kingpin Radoicic

Kosovo authorities on Thursday moved to confiscate the assets of the fugitive Kosovo Serb politician Milan Radoicic, the ring leader of the armed attack on Banjska village in northern Kosovo on September 24, 2023.

Kosovo authorities started implementing a court order for the management of seized property in relation to the investigation of the attack by Serbian gunmen in the village of Banjska in the north of Kosovo on September 24, 2023, which resulted in the killing of a Kosovo policeman.

The seized assets include Restaurant Grey in North Mitrovica and a villa at the disputed Ujman/Gazivode lake, owned by Kosovo Serb kingpin Milan Radoicic.

Veton Elshani, deputy police commander for the north, told BIRN: “Restaurant Grey (in North Mitrovica) and an apartment in the sixth floor of that building are being confiscated”.

Vehicles and weapons seized by Kosovo Police in Banjska, shown on September 25, 2023. Photo: BIRN

This is being done by the Agency for Confiscation and Management of Seized Assets of the Ministry of Justice, with the Kosovo Police, which are identifying the assets of Radoicic.

The Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu, said on Thursday that the Agency had received a court decision for the confiscation of 31 vehicles related to the Banjska case, explaining that the Ministry has given the confiscated vehicles to the police “to use for its needs”.

Kosovo Police confiscated an arsenal of weapons and vehicles after the attack. They included MRUD anti-personnel mines, 60mm M73 mortar rounds, M80 “Zolja” anti-tank rocket launchers and an M93 automatic grenade launcher, all of which were put on display by the police.

The mortar rounds and anti-tank rocket launchers had passed through state maintenance centres in Serbia in 2018 and 2021 respectively, a BIRN investigation confirmed in October last year. The ammunition, which includes assault rifle bullets – 7.62x39mm – match those made in 2022 by the Belom factory, Serbia newest state arms producer.

The controversial businessman and politician Radoicic assumed full responsibility for the attack. In October 2023, the Higher Court in Belgrade rejected a proposal for his detention based on the risk of his escape, but ordered him not to leave the country and confiscated his passport.

BIRN’s analysis of the markings on the weapons and ammunition seized by the police did not prove how they ended up in the hands of the group led by Radoicic, then deputy leader of Srpska Lista, a party closely linked to Serbia’s ruling Progressive Party.

But it did suggest the weapons were either stolen from state warehouses or sold to a private arms merchant who sold or gave them to Radoicic, or were handed over by the state.

The Belgrade-backed Srpska Lista party reacted saying the ultimate goal of the action is to expel Radoisic’s children from Kosovo, and to intimidate the rest of the Serbs.

“It is ethnically motivated persecution of minors just because they are the children of a Serb who does not agree to [PM Albin] Kurti’s cruelty, and it is also the continuation of the emigration of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija under the pressure of the regime in Pristina with the benevolent attitude of some international representatives,” the party said. 

Haxhiu on Thursday explained that Kosovo’s legislation does not allow for seized assets to be used by the police at this point, “but as soon as we have the final decision from the court, of course they will be used by the Kosovo Police”.

Kosovo has accused Serbia of being involved in the attack. The Serbian President and government have denied this. Three of the gunmen were also killed in the police operation that followed the attack. Kosovo’s government says Radoicic’s involvement is a clear indicator of Serbian state support, something Radoicic has dismissed.

and 04/04/2024 - 18:18

04 April 2024 - 18:18

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