Ivanović "confident" he'll prove his innocence

BELGRADE -- "I am absolutely confident that I will prove my innocence, but until then I must pay a steep price," Oliver Ivanović has told the daily Večernje Novosti.

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

Ivanović, a Serb politician from northern Kosovo, has been imprisoned by the Kosovo authorities for nearly six months.

Ivanović told the newspaper that the reason why he is still detained is the “artificial political balance”, considering that serious steps are underway against ethnic Albanian politicians in Kosovo.

When asked to comment on the last week's decision of the Priština Appellate Court to deny his appeal concerning the decision on detention extension, Ivanović said that his expectations were not high, knowing that in such a politically sensitive moment the court would not opt for a “radical solution” and release him pending trial.

"Serious steps have been or will be undertaken against prominent Albanian politicians, former KLA members, and the investigation into human organ trafficking, led by Clint Williamson's special investigative team, is in a final administrative phase," Ivanović added.

He stressed that his being charged with participation in the crimes against Kosovo Albanians in 1999 is absurd, as at the time of the events he was in Priština, working alongside Albanians.

"I have many witnesses to confirm that I have worked with them every day. In any case, I was neither recruited, nor did I take any part in the conflicts. I was politically active afterwards and my political stands can be easily tracked on the internet," Ivanović said.

The leader of the Citizens' Initiative Freedom, Democracy, Justice (GI SDP) was arrested on January 27 on suspicion that he participated in several crimes committed in 1999 and 2000, including an aggravated murder.

The government of Serbia offered guarantees for Ivanović's release pending trial, which the Priština judicial authorities ignored.