Ivanović: Monstrous, politically motivated charges
Oliver Ivanović has dismissed the charges raised against him as "monstrous, totally fabricated and politically motivated."Source: Tanjug
The Serb politician from northern Kosovo also "vowed that he and his lawyers will put up a strong fight to discredit the indictment," Tanjug has reported.
Ivanović, who is in a detention unit in Kosovska Mitrovica, was responding to questions asked via the RTS website.
Suspected as the leader of a Serb paramilitary police unit at the time, Ivanović has been charged by the Kosovo judiciary with inciting a group of subordinate personnel to commit war crimes against civilians on April 14, 1999 in North Mitrovica.
He was arrested on January 27 this year, but was only able to enter his plea after seven months.
Ivanović said that seven months or fifteen years ago he could not have even imagined that he might end up in prison, because the life he had led ruled out that scenario altogether.
"No one who knows me even just a little can believe the charges, which are monstrous and totally fabricated. My confidence that this will be proved before the public is what is giving me strength... The support from the Serbian government and the entire public, which did not let the case be covered up, is very important to me," Ivanović said.
Ivanović said that he was most afraid of the possibility of the indictment being delayed indefinitely, and cited the example of Orahovac Mayor Anđelko Kolašinac, who spent more than four years in detention, but was eventually cleared of all charges.
"At this point, that is not possible in my case - the court will either drop the charges, which may even be dismissed by the prosecutor himself, as he is aware that my lawyers and I will put up a strong fight to discredit the indictment, as well as the prosecutor, whose motives for such an indictment we will not go into for the time being. It is apparent that the motives are of political nature," Ivanović said.
The inhumane treatment has failed to break me and the Serbian government reacted vehemently, while Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić spoke about the case before the UN Security Council - there was comprehensive media coverage and 17,000 signatures were collected in a week, which all encouraged me, Ivanović said.
"I have whom to fight for, because this, most of all, is a fight to clear myself of the disgrace and stigma - at the same time, my defense is a fight to prevent such political deals and political arrests from occurring ever again and to ensure that the Serbs can, at last, have the peace and security they need," Ivanović said.
"Had anyone in the EULEX mission wanted to act in a professional manner, they would have checked whether and where I worked in 1999, which would have led to an immediate conclusion that the stories of eccentrics in Kosovska Mitrovica make no sense whatsoever," Ivanović said.