Kosovo’s Chief State Prosecutor Aleksander Lumezi said the arrest warrant for Milan Radoicic, suspected of involvement in the murder of political rival Oliver Ivanovic in January 2018, had been withdrawn for “technical and tactical reasons.”
Lumezi insisted that “the criminal case against [Radoicic] continues.”
“This is a very serious case. Milan Radoicic was investigated in the case of the murder of political rival Oliver Ivanovic, alongside some other people,” Lumezi told Kosovo media, “There is a decision to continue investigations into him.”
Radoicic is a well-connected Kosovo Serb businessman, and vice president of the Belgrade-backed, Serb minority political party Srpska Lista. He is suspected of being one of the heads of the criminal group that shot Ivanovic. Radoicic has denied any involvement in the murder.
Ivanovic, the leader of the Freedom, Democracy, Justice political party, was shot outside his party’s office in the northern part of Kosovo’s divided town of Mitrovica in January 2018. Prior to his death, Ivanovic described Radoicic as a power-holder in the Serb-majority north of Kosovo.
In March 2021, a Pristina Basic Court judge confirmed the case prosecutor’s request to withdraw the arrest warrant for Radoicic, who by then had fled to Serbia. Several days after the arrest warrant had been lifted, Radoicic returned to Mitrovica.
In the prosecutor’s indictment, Radoicic was accused of being the leader of the criminal organisation that arranged Ivanovic’s murder. A second Kosovo Serb businessman, Zvonko Veselinovic, has also been accused of involvement. Veselinovic denies the charges.
The two men are on a US blacklist for leading an organized criminal group suspected of bribery and smuggling.
Explaining his decision to withdraw the arrest warrant, Lumezi said “before the American list, and many other people from Kosovo are on the list but we have never started investigations into them.”
“I cannot make public the steps that were taken to withdraw Radoicic’s arrest warrant because it is a work in process and we will have results but they must be supported by evidence and facts,” he continued.
Radoicic’s political connections in Serbia have made the ongoing case particularly politically sensitive. In July 2019, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic went as far as to declare that Radoicic was innocent.
A trial of six people is currently underway, with all six defendants accused of abetting the crime or evidence-tampering. Both Radoicic and Veselinovic have repeatedly been mentioned throughout the proceedings.
Image via Wikimedia