Russian Federation condemns murder of Kosovo Serb politician

17 January, 2018, 03:04 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Leading Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic has been shot dead in a drive-by shooting in Kosovo it has emerged

Prominent Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanović was killed in a drive-by shooting outside his party headquarters Tuesday.

Oliver Ivanović was one of the key politicians in Serb-dominated northern Kosovo.

"It is shown by the fact that the president of Serbia, Alexandar Vucic, called the immediate national security council here in Belgrade in the building of the Serbian presidency", he said, adding that the meeting should define what the official Serbian response should be in terms of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

A Kosovo court convicted Ivanovic of war crimes during the 1998-99 war. That verdict was overturned and a retrial had been underway
A Kosovo court convicted Ivanovic of war crimes during the 1998-99 war. That verdict was overturned and a retrial had been underway

Juric reminded that in recent days Serbian activists in Kosovo have been receiving threats from various political unions of local Albanians.

French Diplomat Bernard Kouchner, who was head of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (Unmik) in 1999, told the BBC he felt "sorrow" at the news and that Ivanovic's death would have an impact on efforts to heal divisions between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Representatives from Germany and France arrived in Kosovo last week to try to lobby among Kosovan leaders to drop any attempt to abolish the Specialist Chamber set up in 2015 to try ex-Kosovo Liberation Army guerillas alleged to have committed atrocities in the 1998 and 1999 war that led to Kosovo breaking off from Serbia.

In 2008 Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia, and Ivanovic became State Secretary of the Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija in the Government of Serbia and a member of the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo and Metohija.

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Ivanovic's death raises questions over global peacekeeping in the region, an area critics say is unable to govern organized crime.

Ivanovic's murder prompted withdrawal of Belgrade's delegation from the talks on normalizing relations with Pristina, which were scheduled to be held on Tuesday for the first time in more than 12 months. A doctor who treated him said Mr. Ivanovic had been shot five times in the upper body.

Serbian government negotiators walked out of EU-mediated talks with Kosovo Albanians in Brussels after the news.

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Some 40,000-50,000 ethnic Serbs live in northern Kosovo, resisting integration with the rest of the mainly ethnic Albanian country.

Known as a relative moderate among mainly ultra-nationalist Kosovo Serb politicians, Ivanovic became one of the chief interlocutors for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, U.N. and European Union officials based in Kosovo to help steer it on a firm path to democracy and the rule of law.

Ivanovic came to prominence shortly after the war as one of the community leaders of Mitrovica Serbs known as the "bridge-watchers" who sought to prevent "infiltration" by Albanians over the Ibar River bridge into the northern half of the town.

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About 120,000 of Kosovo's 1.8 million inhabitants are ethnic Serbs.

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