Oliver Ivanovic

Oliver Ivanovic
Translated by Svetlana Maksovic from the original at Ruskline.ru

One of the leading Serbian politicians from Kosovo and Metohija, Oliver Ivanovic, was killed this week outside his party's premises in Kosovska Mitrovica. According to official information, the killer shot the politician multiple times in the back, with bullets fired from a gun with a silencer, clearly indicating that the murder was a professional hit-job.

Oliver Ivanovic had been in prison for a long time after he was sentenced for his alleged role in committing war crimes (an Albanian accusation), and was convicted by a court in the illegal state of Kosovo. Later, on appeal, a retrial was ordered, and Ivanovic was released for home detention. Ivanovic was arrested on the eve of the second round of elections in Kosovska Mitrovica, when he was a favorite candidate for mayor.

After his release from prison, his car was set on fire in April 2017 and, in addition, he received many death threats. He reported several times that his life was in danger, and just a few days ago he shared that he was afraid of assassination. Speaking about the security situation in the north of Kosovo being utterly unstable, Oliver Ivanovic said: "I am afraid that some innocent may suffer in this unstable situation, and I have to admit that I am also afraid for my own safety." Unfortunately, this fear of his came true, and in the worst possible way.

Apart from Oliver Ivanovic, other prominent Serbs from Kosovo have also pointed out that the security situation there is critical, but the Serbian leadership in Belgrade ignores their warnings and instead presents the Serbian public with the opposite estimation - that the security situation in Kosovo and Metohija is improving - with Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic reiterating this two days ago on state television.

The following facts are revealing: only in northern Kosovo during the period of SNS rule (Serbian Progressive Party) have a large number of violent acts occurred. According to a report from the nationalist movement 'The Fatherland', founded by Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija, since 2012 "more than a hundred vehicles have been burned, five Serbs killed, dozens of armed attacks committed against political opponents of the present government, without any of the culprits being identified." They also report that from 2002 to 2013 no Serb was killed in the north of Kosovo.

These facts prove that the Brussels Agreement, signed by the Serbian president with the Pristina separatists in 2013, negatively affected the security of Serbs in Kosovo. The main reason is that, according to the Brussels Agreement, the institutions of Serbia on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija were extinguished, and the Serbian police and judiciary were thereby integrated into the Kosovo system, which functions according to the constitution and laws of the so-called Kosovo state. This led to the arrests of Serbs in Kosovo by Albanians from the Kosovo police, which then led to trials held by Albanian courts established by the false state of Kosovo, such as in the case of the murdered Ivanovic.

The big problem for the Serbs concerning Kosovo is also the so-called 'Serbian List' - a joint creation of Belgrade and Pristina, which is part of the Kosovo government and which is repressing the remaining Serbs. Oliver Ivanovic pointed out this problem, saying that Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija now have a bigger problem with Serbs in Belgrade than with the Albanians.

In any case, this tragedy will further destabilize the situation in Kosovo, and complicate relations between Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija on one hand, and Serbian authorities in Belgrade and the so-called 'Serbian List' on the other, as well as mutual relations of all Serbs with the Albanians in Kosovo.

The dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, which is being held in Brussels, and which has already resulted in the unfortunate Brussels Agreement, was also suspended and the Serbian delegation returned from Brussels. Unfortunately, based on what Vucic said at a press conference he called after Ivanovic was murdered, we can conclude that the dialogue will continue and that Serbia's leadership does not intend to stop its self-destructive political course.

I am afraid that this murder, along with many other murders of Serbs in Kosovo, will remain officially unsolved and will go unpunished. Judging by the public's reaction, people have expressed various doubts, with some suggesting that Oliver Ivanovic was killed by Albanian extremists, and others that he was killed by his political opponents and that it was a politically-motivated murder. Others suspect the involvement of foreign secret services.

The tragic murder of Oliver Ivanovic is confirmation that Serbian policy with respect to Kosovo has failed and that Brussels negotiations cannot result in anything positive for the Serbian people. It is also confirmation that the West's proclaimed democratization of society and concern for the protection of human rights are misleading Serbians, while hatred, violence, crime and chaos increase in Kosovo.
About the author

Dragana Trifkovic is the director of the Centre for Geostrategic Studies (Belgrade, Serbia), and has written numerous articles on the geopolitics of the Balkans.