Serbs protest against detention of Ivanović

A protest was staged at the central square in Kosovska Mitrovica on Thursday calling on EULEX and the authorities in Priština to release Oliver Ivanović.

Source: Tanjug
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Ivanović the leader of the Citizens Initiative Serbia, Democracy, Justice (GI SDP). He was detained on war crimes charges.

Ivanović is a candidate for the mayor of north Kosovska Mitrovica in the elections scheduled for February 23, and he was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the alleged war crime in 1999 and post-war incidents in 2000, including an aggravated murder.

Ivanović went to the police station in Kosovska Mitrovica on his own will on Monday, where he was questioned by the police and remanded in 30-day custody.

The protesters, including his party colleagues, officials of the Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija and the Diocese of Raška-Prizren requested that Ivanović should be released pending trial.

Mirko Krlić, official of the Office for Kosovo, called on representatives of the international community and the ones who pull the strings in Priština's judiciary to release Ivanović, stressing that this may be the last chance for them to earn the trust of Serbs.

“Trust is the crucial word which can lead to peaceful life in Kosovo and Metohija,” Krlić said, and told EULEX that the decision to release Ivanović pending trial would be a true example that freedom and justice, rather than terror and pressure, are the principles that Europe is based on.

“Today we are defending Ivanović's right to freedom, the violation of his freedom is also the violation of the freedom of all of us,” Krlić said.

He expressed expectation that the international community will launch a proceeding in the Yellow House case against the ones involved in the human organ harvesting from Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija.

Krlić also underlined that no one has been held accountable of the crime which claimed the lives of two and wounded four Serb children in Gorazdevac on August 13, 2003, and the assassination of 14 Serb harvesters in Staro Gracko on July 23, 1999, and other crimes committed against Serb civilians.

Ksenija Božović, an SDP official, stated that the case against Ivanović has been plotted by the ones who want Kosovo's independence and the ones who have incited destabilization in Serb-dominated northern Kosovo for years.

She said that the protests will not stop until Ivanović is released pending trial.

Bishop Teodosije of Raška and Prizren warned that the EULEX decision to launch a cease on Ivanović's criminal accountability is viewed as politically motivated by Serbs and it creates confusion and instability at a very sensitive moment.

In a letter to EULEX, which was read during the protest, Bishop Teodosije also underlined that Ivanović should be released pending trial.

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