Vlajic: The indictment in the Ivanovic case a result of public pressure and legal deadlines

„Instead of cooking one dish, the Chief Prosecutor started making some sort of stew in which he put everything he could,“ lawyer Nebojsa Vlajic described the recounted indictment against the people suspected of involvement in the assassination of Oliver Ivanovic. The announcement of the indictment before the indictment was served is a rare exception made under public pressure, Vlajic said on the KoSSev portal’s “Propitivanje” talk-show.

The recounted indictment, which is available to the public, does not bring any new details to what the public knew from the Special Prosecutor’s media statements so far, Vlajic said on the KoSSev portal’s “Propitivanje” talk-show.

„I am interested in the reasoning of the indictment. In that part of the indictment, which has not yet been published, we have to see of what specifically are the accused charged with and how is the public prosecutor proving it,“ Vlajic said, emphasizing that the participants in the process – and the public – have the right to see this evidence.

According to him, the very way the public learned about the indictment – through a statement representing a recounted indictment, which was not handed over to the suspects in its entirety, is a „serious and rare exception“.

“As a rule, the indictment is first served to the defendants and it is made public afterward. The process was reversed here, we have seen that recounted indictment, but not the indictment itself,” he said, adding that the defense attorneys in the case did not confirm that the indictment was served to the defendants.

These practices of the Special Prosecutor are the result of public pressure, but also of the expiration of a year-long deadline to file an indictment, Vlajic assessed, adding that during his working life in Kosovo he had numerous experiences with „unproven indictments“ and that indictments are usually weaker as the expiration of the deadline approaches.

„The longer the public prosecutor waits for the disclosure of evidence – his evidence is paper-thin. Every public prosecutor says he has evidence and that everything is well-defined, but when we get the indictment we see that it is not so,“ Vlajic stressed.

The people on the run are not available to the court and this is probably why they are not included in the indictment

The statement on the indictment, in addition to the initials of 6 persons indicted, also contains the initials of the people on the run, who are believed to be Milan Radoicic, Zvonko Veselinovic, Zeljko Bojic and Milan Mihajlovic. When asked why these persons are mentioned in the statement on the indictment and not on the indictment itself, Vlajic replied that it was probably because these persons were not available to the court.

„The media said it was because they were not questioned. That’s not the reason. An indictment may be filed against someone who has not been questioned. However, under the current Kosovo Criminal Procedure Code, an absent person cannot be tried. Someone who is not available to the court cannot be tried,“ Vlajic explained, recalling that preparations are underway to allow a trial in absentia in Kosovo, a practice he described as “undemocratic and problematic.”

The trial could start in the summer

The Ivanovic murder case trial should begin shortly – Vlajic said, citing short legal deadlines, especially those related to detention cases, as two suspects in this case have been in custody for a year.

„The court, after submitting the indictment to the defense, will schedule a preliminary hearing usually within one to two months. At this preparatory hearing, the court must confirm that the public prosecutor has provided evidence to the defense and after that there is a 40-day deadline to file an appeal to the indictment, to submit the evidence the defense wants to be presented at trial and to appeal to the evidence given by the public prosecutor,“ he said.

Oliver’s death prevented the sinking of EULEX’s ship

Vlajic and his colleague Ljubomir Pantovic were Oliver Ivanovic’s defense counsel in the EULEX lawsuit against Ivanovic for his alleged war crimes. In the “Propitivanje” show, Vlajic said he regrets that the proceedings did not reach its judicial epilogue in the form of the acquittal he and Ivanovic had been expecting.

„We have been able to prove that half of the indictment was false, unproven and untrue and this has been confirmed. That charge was dismissed, we were left with only half of the trial for this second half of the indictment. I am sure that the case against Oliver was approaching an inevitable acquittal,“ Vlajic underlined.

The finalization of the proceedings was prevented by Oliver’s death, which resulted in „saving the EULEX ship that started sinking, which was already tilted and had to sink.“

„That verdict did not come to its rightful end. EULEX would then have had to explain why it has been prosecuting an innocent man for four years, how anyone could believe in those allegations, especially the public prosecutor, and how it is possible to keep an innocent man in custody for three and a half years.“

Politics was his life

Politics was his life and he couldn’t change that. He didn’t want to change that. Oliver Ivanovic would not be who he was if he had not been in politics and that politics left a mark on his life and he also left a mark on the politics that is being pursued in Kosovo. I cannot say that there will not be a person in Kosovo who can rise above him in politics, I do not think that a person who is even remotely equal to him will appear in Kosovo.

Vlajic described his friend and client as a man deeply led by beliefs.

He believed that he and other citizens should fight for justice and life in Kosovo, and he had done so from day one – he added.

“The most important impression I had of him was his boundless optimism and kindness above all. He did not doubt anything that depended on him. He did not doubt that we would be able to survive here, he did not doubt that society would be established here in Kosovo in which human rights are respected, and at his micro level, he did not doubt the outcome of his court proceedings. He knew and expected that this would end in an acquittal,“ Vlajic concluded.

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