Trial for the murder of Oliver Ivanovic continues

Suđenje Oliveru Ivanoviću
Foto: KoSSev

Although the media insistently qualified this as a trial for the murder of Oliver Ivanovic – that is not the case, Oliver Ivanovic’s brother Miroslav Ivanovic assessed in a statement for KoSSev.

The trial of people accused of abetting the murder of Oliver Ivanovic continued yesterday in the Basic Court in Pristina.

Oliver Ivanovic’s family has been following the trial since the second hearing. Yesterday’s hearing was attended by Ivanovic’s eldest son Nikola Ivanovic.

„Oliver Ivanovic’s family deserves truth and justice. We want justice to be satisfied and the perpetrators to be punished. The court will determine who is guilty and who isn’t. We are joining the criminal prosecution,“ Nikola Ivanovic said in the courtroom yesterday.

Miroslav Ivanovic: I learned about the hearing from the media

The lawyer of the defendant Silvana Arsovic, Jovana Filipovic, told the media after the hearing that Oliver Ivanovic’s brother Miroslav Ivanovic was also supposed to testify before the court yesterday, adding that the court was unable “to get in touch” with him.

KoSSev, however, spoke to Miroslav Ivanovic in North Mitrovica yesterday, who revealed that he learned about the hearing from the media. He also alleged that he did not receive any invitation to appear in court.

Ivanovic said that the family is disappointed in the proceedings.

„Certain political conflicts, silence when it comes to this issue – this is what has been taking place from the first moment to date. The murder case itself and the alleged work on the investigation are being promoted primarily for political purposes, not for the real needs of the people and family, of course.“

Ivanovic said that this trial does not try either the perpetrator or the instigator, but a group of people – for criminal acts that „in some way only touch on the very event of the murder.“

The defendants are accused of abetting the murder, although no one speaks of who they abetted and in what way – he added.

„This trial is interesting for us only insofar if it reveals some information that would lead to another main story – murder. When the perpetrators and the instigators with any background, those who collaborated in all this, are sitting on the dock, the interest of the family will surely increase.“

Vlajic: I attended the hearing as a friend of the family; I will not appear at the trial again

The media that covered the trial also reported that lawyer Nebojsa Vlajic reportedly attended the hearing in the capacity of a defense attorney and that the judge forbade him from attending it because he previously participated in the proceedings.

Vlajic, however, told KoSSev that he attended the hearing as a family friend, primarily to give support to Oliver’s son Nikola.

The lawyer underscored that he is familiar with the rules of the court, noting that because of his previous involvement in the case, he was also unable to take on the case of the accused Zarko Jovanovic.

Vlajic also told KoSSev that he will not be attending the trial again.

Witness testimony: Ivanovic noticed that he was followed by police vehicles

The first two prosecution witnesses, taxi drivers, testified yesterday. One of them, H.N. drove the late Ivanovic on January 7th, 2018, to a meeting at a KFOR base south of the Ibar.

While waiting for Ivanovic, H.N. revealed that he had a conversation in Albanian with a nondescript, approximately 40 years old man, who was driving a dark green Renault vehicle. This man was the one who reportedly told him that Ivanovic went to the KFOR base. He asked H.N for his contact information, which he gave, believing that the man was a fellow taxi driver, RTV Kim reports.

The same taxi driver also testified that he noticed a police vehicle trailing behind them. Ivanovic himself told him at the time: „I’ve noticed they’ve been following us since we left.“

He also said that one police vehicle followed them to Bosniak Mahala, while another police vehicle, a blue Golf caravan, followed them in the northern part of the city.

The witness stressed that he does not know any of the defendants, apart from Silvana Arsovic in her capacity as Ivanovic’s secretary, noting that he had never heard anyone connecting Arsovic with the other defendants, RTV Kim reported, citing lawyer Jovana Filipovic.

So far, the prosecution has submitted a list of 28 witnesses, three of whom are in the witness protection program. Three witnesses are expected to testify at each hearing.

Pantovic: Testimony irrelevant to the indictment

The defendants’ lawyers maintained their earlier statements that their clients were not guilty and that those in custody should be released.

„Two witnesses who are quite irrelevant to the indictment have testified. Their testimony does not concern the indictment itself. They are the taxi drivers who transported Oliver and his officials from the office when the election activities were in progress. I would say that it has no indirect connection with the indictment,“ the lawyer of the accused Zarko Jovanovic, Ljubomir Pantovic, told KoSSev, adding that “nothing important happened” at court yesterday.

Addressing the allegation of the witness H.N. that Ivanovic was followed by police vehicles, Pantovic says that this is circumstantial evidence unrelated to the persons listed in the indictment.

Pantovic confirmed that such testimony could be important evidence for the investigation into the murder itself, but not for this indictment.

It has no direct and tangible connection to the murder. Based on this, it would be difficult to claim that someone from the police participated in the planning or execution of the murder, he underlined.

Furthermore, this lawyer alleged that the indictment is not supported by quality evidence, noting that his client, police officer Zarko Jovanovic, is the „most benign“ part of the case. He added that Jovanovic was not included with the other defendants charged with organizing Ivanovic’s murder.

„The indictment has two parts. The first part refers to the foursome – according to the prosecution, they an organized criminal group that joined forces to plan the murder of Oliver Ivanovic and assist the perpetrators in leaving the scene and remaining undetected,“ Pantovic explains.

Police officers Zarko Jovanovic and Dragisa Markovic, on the other hand, were separated from that group. Jovanovic was charged with abuse of power and failing to perform his duty.

According to Pantovic, his client did not hear that any shots were fired at the time of the murder and he allegedly picked up the bullet casing believing that Ivanovic died from a heart attack and that the casing was left there during a New Year’s celebration.

„As soon as he found out what happened, he returned the shell to the ground. There are recordings, although I have not seen them yet, as they told me, they do not show that he put the shell in his pocket. Three shells were found on the spot, and three have not been found,“ Pantovic claims.

The next hearings are scheduled for September 14th and 17th.

According to the third indictment, six people are charged with involvement in the murder of Ivanovic: Marko Rosic, Nedeljko Spasojevic, Rade Basara, Silvana Arsovic, Dragisa Markovic, and Zarko Jovanovic.

The defendants are also charged with the criminal offenses of „aggravated murder“, „participation or organization of an organized criminal group“, „abuse of power or authority“ and „unauthorized possession of weapons“.

The third indictment also includes Milan Radoicic and Zvonko Veselinovic, who have been identified as leaders of a criminal group linked to Ivanovic’s murder.

Radoicic and Veselinovic, however, have not been included in the indictment because the Kosovo law does not allow a trial in absentia, which was why an arrest warrant for Radoicic was issued in August 2020.

It was revoked at the beginning of the year after the Kosovo Special Prosecutor’s Office sent the request to the Basic Court in Pristina.

They explained at the time that this request was submitted because it is an „internal and confidential matter about which we cannot declare ourselves“, Kallxo reported.

The leader of the GI SDP, Oliver Ivanovic was gunned down on January 16th by several shots to the back while entering his party premises in North Mitrovica. The Special Prosecutor’s Office of Kosovo filed the first indictment almost two years later – on December 2nd.

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