In the early morning on January 16, 2018, Oliver Ivanovic, a Serb politician from Kosovo, in opposition to the main Srpska Lista (Serb List), supported by Belgrade, was gunned down outside his party office in the divided northern Mitrovica town. However, the executors and masterminds were still unknown, N1 Belgrade reported.
Amid the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on the normalisation of relations which were still going on then, Serbia and Kosovo were exchanging accusations of who ordered and murdered Ivanovic.
Ivanovic’s partner Milena Popovic and their son Bogdan, accompanied by Brnabic, attended a church service in the St. Sava Temple in Belgrade to mark the second anniversary of the assassination. The slain politician’s party colleagues and friends gathered in his honour in Mitrovica at the time of the murder.
The main Pristina’s suspect, a Serb businessman Milan Radojicic escaped Kosovo and reportedly passed the polygraph test in Belgrade proving him innocent, as Serbia’s officials said.
Belgrade complained about, as the authorities said, the lack of Pristina’s cooperation in the investigation.
Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Thursday her country “won’t stop investigating until Ivanovic’s executors and masterminds behind the murder, and the real ones, not those who someone wants to make a story about, were found.”
Speaking to the state RTS TV, Brnabic said Belgarde was on its own in the investigation “with both arms tied,” without any help from either Pristina or the European Union UNMIK office in Kosovo.
She added Belgrade had “some knowledge” which she could not share during the investigation.
Kosovo authorities arrested and accused several people identified with initials of participating in the crime last December, but could not do the same with Radojicic since the law there stipulated that a person at large could not be accused.
Reportedly, Pristina issued a warrant for Radoicic, also one of the Serb List’s leaders, but Kosovo and Serbia do not have institutional relations which would enable his extradition.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade doesn’t recognise it as a sovereign state, but still as its province.
Ivanovic nephew Aleksandar Ivanovic said he was convinced the surveillance cameras could shed light on the murder, i.e., whether the perpetrators were the Serbs or the Albanians, who helped them to come and leave Mitrovica.
The first information following the assassination was the cameras on the party building did not work, but Ivanovic told the Belgrade NIN weekly that his uncle walked to his office through several narrow streets which were all covered with cameras.
Oliver Ivanovic’s brother, Miroslav, told N1 TV on Thursday that the assassination was political and that many information remained unclear and unpublished.
Aleksandar Ivanovic also told the weekly that Oliver spoke about his life being in danger, and even warned Belgrade, Pristina and foreign representatives about it saying he wanted that if he were killed someone couldn’t say “we didn’t know.”
According to his nephew, Oliver also asked Belgrade not to divide the Serbs in Kosovo to “theirs and ours,” referring Serbia’s authorities branding politicians who were in opposition to the Serb List, and especially Ivanovic, as “the Albanian Serbs.”
In November 2017, during the local elections campaign in Kosovo, two months ahead of the assassination, pro-government Pink TV aired a video in which slammed Oliver Ivanovic as a traitor to the interest of the local Serbs.
After the murder, Belgrade changed the tune and mourned Ivanovic’s death.
President Aleksandar Vucic promised the crime would be solved “since there is no such thing as a perfect murder.”
However, two years after the assassination, only a pre-investigation procedure is ongoing in Belgrade.