PRISTINA, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) - The EU Rule of Law mission (EULEX) detained Serb local leader of the Serb-dominated north of Mitrovica, Oliver Ivanovic, who is suspected of crimes committed during the Kosovo conflict in 1999.
"At the request of an international prosecutor from the Kosovo Special Prosecution Office (SPRK), early this morning, an international judge from the Mitrovica Basic Court ordered one month detention for Oliver Ivanovic who is suspected of War Crimes and Aggravated murder", EULEX announced on Tuesday.
Ivanovic voluntarily presented himself to Mitrovica North Police Station on Monday by prior arrangement between an international prosecutor from the SPRK and Ivanovic's legal counsel, the mission said. After the conduct of a suspect interview, Ivanovic was arrested on the prosecutor's order, and brought before an international judge of the Mitrovica Basic Court.
Based on local media Ivanovic is suspected for crimes against Kosovo Albanians committed in April 1999 and for crimes against Albanians in February 2000. During the overnight unrest in the Serb-dominated north of Mitrovica 10 Albanians were killed and hundreds deported to the south of the city.
UN Administration, UNMIK, had investigated the 2000 case but no charges were filed against Ivanovic. Regarded today as a moderate leader, Ivanovic was a member of the Kosovo Asembly in the period 2001- 2004. In November local elections Ivanovic run for the mayor of Mitrovica north but was second best voted.
Ksenija Bozovic, the representative of Ivanovic's party, said her leader is not guilty and that there is no ground for his detention. His lawyer Nebojsa Vlajic said the arrest has political nature, and it's based on untrue claims by Kosovo Albanians.
Ivanovic is initially detained for 30 days and is placed in Pristina prison due to security reasons, said his layer Vlajic. He noted that a file against the decision will be sent to court, and that he expects a support from the government of Serbia.
"The government of Serbia urges an urgent release of GDP Civic Initiative Ivanovic", Aleksandar Vulin, Serbian minister in charge for Kosovo told Serbian media.
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade does not recognize the secession.