Mihajlovic: Ivanovic should be released pending trial

Director of the Serbian government’s media relations office Milivoje Mihajlovic said Wednesday that Oliver Ivanovic, leader of the Citizens’ Initiative “Freedom, Democracy, Justice” (GI SDP), against whom the Kosovo special prosecutor filed an indictment for war crimes and incitement to murder of 10 ethnic Albanians, should be released pending trial.

(kosovocompromisestuff) Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The press in Pristina has reported recently that the laws of Kosovo leave the Serbian government no right to give any guarantees in exchange of having Ivanovic and other defendants released pending trial.Mihajlovic, however, pointed out that the decision about it is at the discretion of the court, adding that he was confident that the judge in the case would give the issue a serious thought.“Presently, it is irrelevant to the Kosovo political scene if Ivanovic is in custody or out of custody,” Mihajlovic said for state-run Radio Television of Serbia (RTS).Ivanovic was arrested to be removed from political life ahead of the parliamentary elections in Kosovo, he said, stressing that the process against the GI SDP leader was political.Mihajlovic expressed confidence that Ivanovic would be able to prove his innocence during the trial, which is beginning on August 26.He said that a 56-page indictment charges Ivanovic with ordering the killing of four Albanians that had occurred in Kosovska Mitrovica on April 14, 1999 (during the NATO bombing of Serbia), adding it should not be difficult to defense lawyers to prove that it was not true.Regarding the accusations that he incited the killing of 10 ethnic Albanians who were killed in unrest on February 3, 2000, there are no witnesses to confirm this and I therefore believe that the court will arrive at the truth quickly and find that Ivanovic is not guilty, Mihajlovic said.The unrest in north Kosovska Mitrovica broke out after a hand grenade was thrown into a bar in that part of the northern KiM city and injured several Serbs.EULEX spokesman Miguel Carvalho de Faria said for yesterday’s edition of Belgrade-based Politika daily that Ivanovic would have to remain in remand custody until the end of his trial.Kosovo’s Criminal Procedure Code does not provide for guaranties to be given in criminal proceedings for any criminal offense by any state body or political entity, de Faria said and stressed that the application and interpretation of the Code is a matter of the court’s discretion.