Ivanovic found guilty, sentenced to nine years in prison

Oliver Ivanovic, a Serb politician from northern Kosovo, has been found guilty on charges of war crimes and sentenced to nine years in prison.

Source: Beta, Tanjug
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(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

The international court chamber of the Basic Court on Kosovska Mitrovica was presided by Judge Roxana Comsa from Romania.

Ivanovic stood accused of war crimes committed against ethnic Albanian civilians in 1999 and 2000.The indictment included retired MUP Colonel Dragoljub Delibasic, lawyer Ilija Vujacic, jurist Nebojsa Vujacic, and professor Aleksandar Lazovic - all four have been acquitted today.

They were all charged with murder and attempted murder. All five defendants pleaded not guilty at the start of the trial.

Ivanovic was found guilty on the first count of the indictment concerning crimes committed on April 14, 1999, while the court said he was not guilty on the second count, that accused him of committing crimes during 2000.

The judge said that Serbian forces in April 1999 organized an action of cleansing of the southern Kosovska Mitrovica with the goal of expelling ethnic Albanians and that many families were forced out of their homes and men separated from women and children.

The ruling also state that Ivanovic was a member of the paramilitary units, that he wore a blue uniform and was armed, and that he, "in front of nine Albanians, when a member of the Serb paramilitary police asked 'what to do with them', responded, 'why do you ask, act on your orders'."

The judge said that Ivanovic was aware of the operation of expulsion and killing of Albanian civilians and that he "acted of his own volition knowing killings would occur."

The ruling also said the court was unable to establish beyond any doubt that Ivanovic as acting as a leader of the Serb paramilitaries of the Serb police.

Ivanovic was arrested in January 2014, with the trial starting almost a year later, in December. He spent 20 months in jail before he was released to house arrest in September 2015. Delibasic was also under house arrest, while other defendants were free pending the outcome of the trial.

A total of 81 witnesses have been heard during the trial that lasted over a year.

Crime

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