Oliver Ivanovic, 64, the leader of the Citizens’ Initiative Party, was shot outside the party’s offices in Mitrovica, a northern city in Kosovo, Tuesday. A doctor who treated Mr. Ivanovic said he had been shot five times in the upper body. Moderate in Serb politics, Mr. Ivanovic also faced war crimes charges, which he and his allies described as politically motivated.
Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vucic, insisted at television that his government had no role in what he called “a terrorist act,” and suggested that the killing was part of a campaign by Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority. Opposition leader Sasa Jankovic noted on Tuesday that Mr. Vucic’s government, which he described as repressive, had been harshly critical of Mr. Ivanovic in the past.
Police in Mitrovica after assassinat
Kosovo formally declared independence in 2008, but Serbia has refused to recognize it as a separate nation. Five of the European Union’s 28 member states also do not recognize Kosovo as a nation. The Kosovo government condemned the killing. “I call on the law enforcement authorities to expose the circumstances of his assassination as soon as possible and the perpetrators of the crime come to justice,” Hashim Thaci, president of Kosovo, said. Ivanovic was an outspoken critic of Kosovo’s drug gangs and the authorities who he said allowed traffickers to operate with impunity. Tensions have escalated in the region as Kosovo prepares to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its declaration of independence.