Prominent Kosovo Serb politician killed in drive-by shooting

Katrina Barker
January 17, 2018

"Unfortunately, I wish it weren't true, but doctors declared Oliver dead at 9:30 this morning, " Nebojsa Vlajic, Ivanovic's lawyer told AP by phone.

Ivanovic, 64, was fatally injured by an unidentified assailant in front of the office of his Citizens' Initiative Party, Serbian state television reported.

A prominent Serb politician in Kosovo who faced war crimes charges was shot and killed on Tuesday, amid growing tensions between Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority and the Serb minority.

Mr Ivanovic was facing a retrial for alleged war crimes against Albanians in 1999. However, the verdict was later overturned and Ivanovic continued to dispute his involvement.

Kosovo president Hashim Thaci called on law enforcement authorities to throw light on the circumstances of the assassination as soon as possible so that the perpetrators are brought to justice, according to a press release issued by the president's office.

Ivanovic's death came on the day officials from Serbia and Kosovo were to hold European Union-mediated talks in Brussels on improving relations.

"For the Serbian state, this is an act of terrorism and we'll address it accordingly", Aleksandar Vucic said from Belgrade.

The Kosovo authorities condemned the killing, saying it was a challenge to the rule of law in Kosovo.

Kosovo police officers secure the area where the leading Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic was killed in a drive-by shooting on Tuesday
Prominent Serb politician and suspected war criminal shot dead outside Kosovo office

Serbian television has retrieved from its archives the shows where Ivanovic took part.

"We urge all sides to avoid risky rhetoric and remain calm at this sensitive time, and recommit themselves to continue the work toward the normalization of relations and improvement of the lives of the citizens of Kosovo and Serbia", the USA ambassador said.

The moderate Serb leader was a father of three and accomplished karate instructor.

The head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Ambassador Jan Braathu, said he was "shocked and deeply saddened" and considered Ivanovic "among the most prominent Kosovo Serb representatives for nearly two decades".

In 2016, Ivanović was found guilty of ordering crimes against the civilian population in 1999 during the Kosovo War. He had been president of the SDP (Freedom, Democracy, Justice) Civic Initiative that ran candidates in local elections in Kosovo previous year.

Relations between Serbia and Kosovo have been tense since 2008, but in 2013 both parties agreed to participate in EU-sponsored negotiations on normalizing relations, a condition for both to progress on their way toward membership in the bloc.

Vucic said he asked European Union and United Nations officials in Kosovo to include Serbian security forces to investigate Ivanovic's killing.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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