The leder of the GI SDP party, Oliver Ivanovic, died of his injuries on Tuesday, after he was shot in front of his office in Kosovska Mitrovica.

His lawyer Nebojsa Vlajic confirmed this for the website KoSSev.

According to the doctors, the Serb politician was shot five times in the chest before he was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

“Apparently, he died on the spot. We know now that he received five gunshot wounds. He was immediately sent to hospital and doctors tried to save him, but this was to no avail,” his lawyer Nebojsa Vlajic said.

The police found three shell casings in front of the office, Ksenija Bozovic, an official of the SDP party, told RSE.

A prosecutor said later in the day that the killer fired at Ivanovic, a former Serbian government official, from a moving car.

Kosovo police official Zeljko Bojic said the police suspect that the car in question was an Opel Astra that was found burned down in a nearby street.

Ivanovic’s killing has been condemned by the Kosovo government and the EU rule of law mission in Kosovo, EULEX. And although his government issued a statement, Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj did not address the incident as he spoke during an event in a school in the town of Djakovica.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, on the other hand, strongly condemned the murder and urged security forces to “shed light on the circumstances in order to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

In the wake of the murder, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic called an extraordinary meeting of the Council for National Security.

Marko Duric, who heads the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, said the Serb delegation was suspending its technical dialogue with Pristina in Brussels and returning to Belgrade.

The Kosovo police were out in force and keeping the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica under blockade as they were looking for the shooter.

In July, Ivanovic’s private car was torched in Kosovska Mitrovica, while four members of his party left during an election campaign because of “intimidation.”

In 2005, an explosive device was attached under Ivanovic’s official car.

“The murder of Oliver Ivanovic is an act of terror aimed at destabilizing the situation in Kosovo and Metohijan and an attack over all Serbian people. We are terminating the negotiations and immediately returning to Belgrade due to the murder of Oliver Ivanovic,” the agency cited Djuric’s statement made in Brussels.

Oliver Ivanovic is one of the Kosovo Serb leaders and former State Secretary of the Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija in the Serbian government. In January 2014, Ivanovic and four more Serbs were imprisoned on charges of military crimes against the Albanian civil population in Kosovo and Metohija committed in 1999 and 2000. In August 2015 Ivanovic went on a hunger strike and was transferred from prison to hospital due to deterioration of health. Still, on January 21, 2016, Oliver Ivanovic was sentenced to a nine-year imprisonment for military crimes committed against Kosovo Albanians in 1999.

In February 2017, the sentence made by the court of first instance was overturned and a new trial started. Ivanovic has been under house arrest since then. In April 2017 he was allowed to protect himself in court while staying at liberty.

 

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