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.

Special Prosecution: indictment expected in Ivanovic case

The Kosovo Special Prosecution has announced that it expects to issue an indictment this month in connection with the murder of Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic, more than 18 months after the investigation began.

The Kosovo Special Prosecution told BIRN on Friday that it soon plans to issue an indictment in connection with the murder of Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic, who was was shot in January 2018 while entering his office in North Mitrovica. He died from the injuries shortly after in hospital. 

“Yes, I plan to issue an indictment during November,” Syla Hoxha, the Special Prosecutor overseeing the investigation, told BIRN. “As long as I can work on it and unless something urgent happens in the meantime, I plan to issue an indictment.” 

Hoxha declined to reveal further details concerning the persons involved in Ivanovic’s murder. “I am analyzing the evidence, details, investigations,” he said.

Once seen as a hardline nationalist, Ivanovic evolved later in his career into a political moderate who advocated coexistence between Kosovo’s Serb minority and Albanian majority. Nevertheless, at his time of death he was facing trial for war crimes and allegations of ordering the murder of ethnic Albanians in Mitrovica in 1999, after an appeals court annulled a 2016 verdict and ordered a retrial.

Soon after his death, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, called Ivanovic’s murder “a terrorist act,” stating that it was an attack on all Serbs.

The case was initially investigated by the Basic Prosecution Office in Mitrovica but was transferred to the Kosovo Special Prosecution in Prishtina in March 2018. 

In November 2018, four people were arrested in North Mitrovica by special Kosovo Police units on suspicion of being involved in Ivanovic’s murder. According to BIRN sources, among those arrested was a former administrator in Ivanovic’s office, as well as one police officer. Two of those arrested are still being remanded in custody.

After announcing in April 2019 that the Kosovo Special Prosecution was investigating new suspects, Kosovo Police arrested two people on October 16 in connection with the murder, one of whom was a police officer. Hoxha told BIRN in October that two police officers – one of whom was not arrested during the operation – are “suspected of hiding evidence and organized crime.”

Kosovapress and Tanjug news agency reported that the name of the arrested officer is Rade Basara, who was working on the Ivanovic case and is suspected of withholding evidence. According to the same outlets, the man who was not arrested and is still being sought by the police is Zeljko Bojic, Chief of Operations for the Kosovo Police in North Mitrovica. 

Kosovo Police have also named Milan Radoicic, vice-president of the main Belgrade-backed Kosovo Serb political party, Lista Srpska, as a suspect. Radoicic, a businessman, is widely seen as the real power-holder in northern Kosovo. He avoided arrest in November 2018 and moved to Serbia, where the authorities have asserted that he is innocent. He denies involvement in the murder of Ivanovic.

01/11/2019 - 15:27

01 November 2019 - 15:27

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.