Kosovo’s Special Prosecution said it had arrested a Serb suspect in the murder of Kosovo Serb political party leader Oliver Ivanovic in January 2018.
“The prosecution can announce that the suspect, M.M., as a suspected member of a criminal organized group, actively took part in committing the crime of participation in the organization of an organized criminal group… [involved] in the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, together with other suspects,” said the Special Prosecution in a statement.
“The suspect has been on the run since 2019 even though there has been an arrest warrant in force,” it added.
According to some media reports, the Serb suspect in custody is Milan Mihajlovic, from the northern town of Leposavic.
Mihajlovic is one of more than ten Serbs from northern Kosovo who were sanctioned in August 2021 by the United States Treasury Department for alleged links to transnational organized criminal gangs.
Those sanctioned by the US government also included controversial businessmen Zarko and Zvonko Veselinovic, as well as Belgrade-backed Kosovo Serb politician Milan Radoicic.
Radoicic is vice president of the Belgrade-backed Kosovo Serb political party Srpska Lista.
The arrest warrant for Radoicic, also suspected in the murder of Ivanovic, was withdrawn in April 2022 for “technical and tactical reasons.”
On the list, Mihajlovic is linked to Zvonko Veselinovic, the alleged leader of the Zvonko Veselinovic Organized Crime Group (OCG) and one of Kosovo’s most notorious corrupt figures.
Both Radoicic and Veselinovic have denied any wrongdoing in the murder of Ivanovic.
Ivanovic, the then-leader of the Freedom, Democracy, Justice political party, was shot on 16 January 2018, in front of his party’s office in the Serb-dominated area of the divided Kosovo town of Mitrovica.
At the time of his death, Ivanovic was a controversial politician awaiting a retrial after he was found guilty of killing ten Albanians during Kosovo’s war of independence from Serbia. In later years, he came to be viewed as a rare champion of moderation who accepted Kosovo’s claim to independence.
As a result of his calls for peaceful coexistence between Serb and Albanian Kosovars, Ivanovic was branded a traitor by hardline Serb nationalists.
In November 2019, a Kosovan Special Prosecutor Sulj Hoxha announced that six people would be indicted for their involvement in Ivanovic’s murder.
Four of the defendants in the trial, Marko Rosic, Silvana Arsovic, Rade Basara and Nedeljko Spasojevic, are accused of being members of a joint criminal enterprise responsible for Ivanovic’s murder.
Two police officers, Dragisa Markovic and Zarko Jovanovic, are on trial for tampering with evidence in the case.
All defendants in the trial have pleaded not guilty.
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