Six months of the Oliver Ivanovic murder: The untold truth

After the six-month memorial gathering in the Alley of Meritorious Citizens at the New Cemetery in Belgrade on Saturday, party associates, family and friends of Oliver Ivanovic are rallying today in North Mitrovica to mark the 6-month anniversary of his murder in front of GI SDP premises in Sutjeska.

No progress has been recorded in the investigations for the past six months and an impression has been created that nothing has moved since the very beginning, said Ivanovic’s party in a press announcement.

„The latest information is that the investigative authorities from both Belgrade and Pristina met each other, without details been made public. It remains to be seen if they have exchanged all necessary information and necessary data to find Oliver Ivanovic’s murderer. GI SDP again reminded both the authorities and the international community, of their responsibilities towards the killing of the most famous Kosovo Serb leader, survived by his five children. We shall struggle to endure for everything that he had advocated, and this is essential – the survival of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija,“- said a statement from the SDP.

The photograph of Oliver Ivanovic was included in the Memorial Room of “Kosmet victims,”– on the day the NATO bombing ended, in mid June, at a ceremony attended by his last wife, Milena Popovic and Kosovo Office head Marko Djuric. A day later Milena Popovic joined the cabinet of Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic.

They will not stop posing the question – „Who killed Oliver Ivanovic?“ as long as it takes to get an answer, they claim.

Oliver Ivanovic was shot six times in the back on January 16th early in the morning on his way to work, in front of his party premises in North Mitrovica. Almost two months later, the investigation was transferred to the Special Prosecution Office of Kosovo due to the complexity of the case. Still, to this date, those who gave the order and those who carried it out have not been discovered. There are no suspects, or a court procedure. However, in public and some media, there are numerous concrete investigation results speculated.

He was a North Mitrovica municipal Assembly member after running in the Kosovo local election in October 2017. For over six months before the murder, Oliver Ivanović was demonized politically and publicly through the Serbian media, believed to be controlled by the main Kosovo Serb political party, Srpska Lista, upon his decision to run in the elections. The political and media campaigning against Oliver Ivanovic, was noticeably backed by some officials from Belgrade. His car and that of his coalition partner Dragisa Milovic, were torched shortly before the start of the official campaign.

During the 7th regular session, MA North Mitrovica dismissed the petition submitted to the Assembly by the GI SDP in May on the naming of a street after the murdered Oliver Ivanovic, on the grounds that the petition was not in accordance with the Municipal Statute.

As soon as the news caught the major media’s attention the day after the session, Srpska Lista and Marko Djuric through separate press releases, one following the other announced: Oliver Ivanovic and all innocent victims of our municipality will have a street named after them in North Mitrovica, following a proposal of the parliamentary group Srpska Lista to the Municipal Assembly of North Mitrovica.

Djuric accused local media of spreading „fake news under political and tycoon influence, with clear political motives“ and for „exploiting the tragedy of one family and our people in Kosovo and Metohija“. Srpska Lista said there was an attempt to „politicize and falsely present yesterday’s session and Assembly decisions to the citizens“.

Ivanović’s associates and some Kosovo Serb politicians claimed repeatedly in public that Oliver Ivanović had informed the authorities and institutions in charge in Belgrade, Pristina, as well as international administrations and Embassies that his safety was in jeopardy.

A river of people stood in rows on both sides of the road, standing in silence and mourning, and escorted the casket to Belgrade. Oliver Ivanović’s assassination sparked a chain of reactions and condemnations in Belgrade, Pristina, the region and the world.

Oliver Ivanovic was buried in the Alley of Citizens of Merits in Belgrade, while there were no commemoration sessions held in North Mitrovica or any other northern municipalities.

Oliver Ivanović was the most prominent Kosovo Serb leader since 1999. He played a key role in 1999 and the first half of 2000’s in, as the Serbian public sees it, the defense of the city from violent attempts from Albanian extremists from the south. He was known to be courageous, but a moderate and pragmatic politician. He advocated for dialogue, cooperation and democratic values.

He is survived by his children, sons – Nikola, Zarko, Janko and Bogdan, and a daughter Kiara.

On a number of occasions both the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his Kosovo counterpart Hashim Thaci have announced information on the murder and committed to deadlines but to date these have not been met. The two sides, Belgrade and Pristina, however, often accuse each other.

At the beginning of this month Aleksandar Vucic said again but without specifying a deadline:

„I’m almost sure, I do not know how much time is needed, but I am almost sure that this crime will not stay unrevealed.“

On the other side, Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci’s words will also be remembered that the truth about Ivanovic’s murder „will hurt someone“.

To the present day the truth remains untold.

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