In what appears to be a political assassination, a controversial ethnic Serbian politician from Kosovo was gunned down early Tuesday in front of his political party’s headquarters in the Serb-dominated northern part of Mitrovica
Oliver Ivanovic, the president of the SDP (Freedom, Democracy, Justice) Civic Initiative that ran candidates in local elections in Kosovo last year, was shot dead at 8:15 a.m. local time.
Ivanovic served as a member of Serbia’s government from 2008 to 2012, where he was, in spite of Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence, state secretary of the Ministry for Kosovo.
In a protest against the killing, Serbia said it would quit the ongoing round of a European Union-sponsored dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina on the normalisation of relations that was due to take place in Brussels.
President Aleksandar Vucic has called an emergency session of the National Security Council meeting.
Judges from the European Union’s Rule of Law Mission (Eulex) in Kosovo in January 2016 convicted Ivanovic of war crimes committed against ethnic Albanians during the 1998-99 war and sentenced him to nine years in prison, but that verdict was annulled by the Appeals Court in Pristina in February 2017.
The Kosovo government condemned the killing.
Some 40,000-50,000 ethnic Serbs live in northern Kosovo, rejecting integration with the mainly Albanian state since it declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
Kosovo police said they had found a burned opel car in norther Mitrovica after the shooting and they suspected the car could be linked to shooting.