Oliver Ivanovic, Kosovo Serb politician - obituary

Prominent Serb politician and suspected war criminal shot dead outside Kosovo office

Prominent Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic was shot dead in a brazen drive-by shooting on Tuesday that sparked fears of a resumption of ethnic tensions in the volatile region. However, the verdict was later overturned and Ivanovic continued to dispute his involvement. The southern province declared independence in 2008, which was never recognized by Belgrade.

Since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, there have been mounting fears in Kosovo over a possible Russian-backed Serbian annexation of the country's ethnically Serbian part in the north. Kosovo's government believes Trump's pro-Russian attitudes may embolden the voices of those in Serbia who seek military action.

'He was taken to the hospital immediately, the doctors tried to revive him, but he could not be saved, ' lawyer Nebojsa Vlajic said.

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

To remind, on January 16, a new round of talks launched in Brussels on normalization of the relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

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

Prominent Serb politician and suspected war criminal shot dead outside Kosovo office

Both Serbian and Kosovo Albanian officials refrained from explicitly accusing each other of being behind the killing as the global community urged the two sides to remain calm.

According to Tanjug, the talks were to focus on the establishment of a Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo, which should define some type of autonomy for the Serb minority.

"The killing of Oliver Ivanovic challenges the law and any attempt to establish law and order throughout the entire territory of Kosovo", it said in a statement.

Known as a moderate among Kosovo Serb politicians, Oliver Ivanovic had been one of the chief interlocutors for NATO, United Nations and European Union officials based in Kosovo after the war.

Police arrested him in 2014 and two years later Ivanovic was convicted of war crimes by a panel of worldwide judges for ordering the murder of nine ethnic Albanians in April 1999. The conviction was overturned in February a year ago.

"The Security Council decided at the meeting to send letters to UNMIK and EULEX where we will demand a role for Serbia's state agencies in investigating Ivanovic's murder in Kosovo and Metohija because we are confident that our participation in the investigation will lead to solving the crime", he stated.

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