Detention extended for Ivanović for two more months

Another two-month extension of detention on remand has been ordered for Oliver Ivanović, his lawyer Nebojša Vlajić, said over the weekend.

Source: Tanjug
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Ivanović is the leader of a political group gathering Serbs in northern Kosovo, the Citizens’ Initiative Freedom, Democracy, Justice (SDP).

Vlajić told Tanjug that he would appeal the decision.

EULEX said in a release on Saturday that the pre-trial judge of the Basic Court in Kosovska Mitrovica ordered that detention on remand for Oliver Ivanović be extended until June 27.

The release says that Ivanović is suspected of war crimes and aggravated murder.

The pre-trial judge found that the risk of flight and the risk that the defendant might influence witnesses if released continues to exist and that there are no less severe measures that could be imposed at this time.

The SDP leader was arrested on January 27, on suspicion of involvement in crimes allegedly committed in Kosovo and Metohija in 1999-2000, including an aggravated murder.

After more than a month in detention in Priština, Ivanović went on a hunger strike for about one week, demanding to be transferred to a detention unit in north Kosovska Mitrovica, which was granted on March 12.

Ivanović is one of the detained Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija for whom the Serbian government offered guarantees to EULEX to the effect that they will be available to the local judiciary at any time in exchange for their release pending trial.

The incidents Ivanović was allegedly involved in were already addressed by the UNMIK judiciary in Kosovo in 2001, when Igor Simić was tried for involvement in incidents of April 14, 1999, and in the 2003 trial of Steva Žigic for incidents of February 3, 2000.

Both proceedings ended with an acquittal verdict and in both cases many witnesses gave detailed accounts of the events, but none implicated Oliver Ivanović.

The SDP has started a petition, together with the Serbian government’s Office for Kosovo and Metohija, demanding EULEX that Oliver Ivanović be released pending trial.

About 10,000 signatures have been collected in northern Kosovo in just a few days.

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