Home > News > World
Tuesday January 28, 2014 MYT 2:55:02 AM
Tuesday January 28, 2014 MYT 2:55:56 AM
by fatos bytyci
PRISTINA (Reuters) - A moderate Kosovo Serb leader and key interlocutor for NATO and the European Union in the young Balkan country was arrested on Monday in connection with alleged war crimes committed more than a decade ago, the EU said.
Oliver Ivanovic, 60, was questioned and then arrested "as an alleged suspect in an ongoing war crimes investigation, together with allegations of aggravated murder after the conflict," the EU's police and justice mission in Kosovo said in a statement.
A judge was considering a request for his further detention, it added.
Ivanovic, who lives in the ethnically-divided flashpoint town of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo, has been a key point of contact for NATO's peacekeeping force, the EU, United Nations and Western embassies since a 1998-99 war in the former southern Serbian province.
Some 40,000-50,000 ethnic Serbs live in northern Kosovo, rejecting integration with the mainly Albanian state since it declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
Ivanovic came to prominence immediately after the war, as one of the organisers of Serbs in Mitrovica known as the 'Bridgewatchers', who guarded against Albanian infiltration into the northern side of the town.
The Bridgewatchers were frequently involved in inter-ethnic violence in the turbulent postwar period, after NATO bombing drove out Serbian forces accused of killing and expelling Kosovo Albanian civilians during a two-year counter-insurgency war.
The group was officially disbanded, but many of its members branched out into organised crime. Ivanovic entered politics and became known for his moderate stance, advocating dialogue and compromise while still rejecting Kosovo sovereignty.
He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of north Mitrovica in December, in the first municipal polls to be held in the north under Kosovo law, part of a landmark EU-brokered accord between Serbia and Kosovo to integrate the north Kosovo Serbs after years of political and economic limbo.
The EU mission, established in 2008, handles sensitive cases of war crimes and high-level graft.
Kosovo votes under shadow of war crimes probe
Ally of Kosovo PM among five arrested for war crimes
EU probes ally of Kosovo PM, ambassador for war crimes
Serb officials' Kosovo war crimes sentences shortened on appeal
Kosovo parliament votes for a new war crimes court
Cuba's famed cigars get a foot in door of U.S. market
Obama says Putin presiding over economic contraction - CNN interview
Boxing great Muhammad Ali hospitalised with pneumonia
India Hindu group to press ahead on conversions in challenge to PM Modi
Ladies, time to stand up and fight for your man
Looking out for your ears
Doggy wearable Voyce to ship soon
Johnson strikes late to earn Sunderland derby win
Retracing biblical paths on Christian pilgrimages
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)