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Kosovo Serb leader shot dead outside party headquarters

17 January, 2018, 02:12 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Prominent Serb politician and suspected war criminal shot dead outside Kosovo office

The EU is hoping that the Serbia-Kosovo talks, which began six years ago, could lead to a binding accord on "normal" relations by 2019, allowing Serbia to enter the EU in 2025.

Marko Djuric, the Serbian government's official dealing with Kosovo, described the incident as a "criminal act of terror".

A Kosovo court convicted Ivanovic (centre) of war crimes during the 1998-99 war.

The 1998-99 war between Serbian security forces and Kosovo Albanian guerrillas was ended by a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation air campaign. He was leader of civic initiative Serbia, Democracy, Justice (SDP), part of the Serb List coalition in Kosovo, which aims at the establishment of autonomy for the Serb minority in Kosovo.

Some 40,000-50,000 ethnic Serbs live in northern Kosovo, rejecting integration with the mainly ethnic Albanian state.

He was hit by five bullets and died on the spot, his lawyer Nebojsa Vlajic told AFP.

Public prosecutor Shyqri Syla told AFP that investigators were at the scene, but that it was not yet known who was behind the attack.

An Opel Astra auto was later found burned in the suburbs of Mitrovica...thought to be the same vehicle used while shooting.

A group of experts investigating the case, which includes representatives of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), and forensics from Pristina and Kosovska Mitrovica, established that the assailant used a 9-mm Yugoslav-made Zastava M70 pistol.

Meanwhile Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has convened an urgent meeting of the national security council, after which he will speak to the press.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said the murder was a "serious blow" to the stability of the entire region. Dozens of citizens laid flowers and lit candles at the spot of the murder.

The killing increased tension between Kosovo and Serbia and an ongoing round of European Union-sponsored dialogue on a normalization of relations that was due to take place in Brussels was suspended at the request of Belgrade. In February 2017, however, the decision was overruled by an appeals court and a retrial was scheduled.

In May, the social-democrat politician and father of four told AFP that his private auto had been set on fire in front of his home, describing it as an attempt to silence him. He said it was an attempt to silence him.

The Serb and Kosovar delegations had come to Brussels on Tuesday at the level of chief negotiators on both sides to talk about the ASM, among other issues.



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