Milan Radoicic’s case in a legal vacuum over unresolved relations between Belgrade and Pristina
The Vice-President of Srpska Lista, Milan Radoicic, who is being investigated by the Kosovo Prosecutor’s Office regarding his involvement in Oliver Ivanovic’s murder, organized crime and drug trafficking, and would be arrested if he returned to Kosovo, has passed polygraph testing in central Serbia and is moving freely. This is possible because the investigative and judicial authorities of Serbia and Kosovo are not cooperating at a practical level, nor do they have mechanisms that would allow them to cooperate directly. The case of Milan Radoicic is a picturesque example of the legal vacuum that has existed for years and which makes it possible for the same person to be convicted of crimes in the territory of Serbia, while remaining a free and even a respectable citizen in Kosovo and vice versa.
The Kosovo Prosecutor’s Office is not going public with evidence against Radoicic and, with the exception of the general qualification „involved in the murder of Oliver Ivanovic,“ there is no precise information about what he was accused of in the investigation. Given that Radoicic was not found during the November police action and that he is unreachable to the Kosovo judicial authorities, the Basic Court in Pristina issued a warrant for his arrest at the request of the Special Prosecutor. This arrest warrant, however, does not have any effect on the territory of Serbia. According to the police claims, but also the claims of the top Serb representatives, Radoicic passed polygraph testing by the police „somewhere in Serbia“ on November 26th. For the Serbian state authorities, this was sufficient evidence that Radoicic was not guilty of the criminal offense he is charged with by the Kosovo Prosecutor’s Office.
At the same time, the Serbian Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime has been refusing to answer Insajder’s questions, on whether the Kosovo Special Prosecution has delivered evidence on the basis of which Radoicic was charged, since January 25th.
Answers to questions whether the Serbian institutions are cooperating with the Kosovo institutions in this case and whether the evidence was requested from the Kosovo Prosecution, based on which Radoicic is suspected are important because the prosecutor’s claim against Radoicic is presented as an attack on the Serb people and Srpska Lista in Kosovo, rather than as suspicions that need to be examined because they are connected with the murder of Oliver Ivanovic.
In the investigation of the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, however, there is some kind of exchange of information and evidence between the judicial authorities of Kosovo and Serbia. Thus, according to the police minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, plastic clones of casings found at the place of Ivanovic’s murder were delivered to Belgrade from Pristina. Minister of Justice, Nela Kuburovic stated at the beginning of the year that „a comprehensive report which was compiled on the murder of Oliver Ivanovic by the Office of Organized Crime“ was sent to Pristina but KRIK journalists were told in the Ministry of Justice that this institution does not possess a copy of the report and, therefore, cannot deliver it to the media.
Professor Bogoljub Milosavljevic: There is no legal road for this situation
A Professor at the Law Faculty at the Union university, Bogoljub Milosavljevic told Insajder that this situation regarding the investigation led against Milan Radoicic is the result of an unregulated legal system, and that it cannot be overcome by legal means.
„The unregulated relationship between the Kosovo and Serbian authorities is the problem, therefore, there is no extradition agreement. In the end, it seems that everything is a matter of will, but the will is above the law. There is no legal road,“ said Professor Milosavljevic.
He cited the example of persons fleeing from Serbia to the territory of Kosovo in order to avoid being arrested or serving a sentence for a crime they were convicted of.
One such example is the appointment of Radomir Laban as a judge of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo. Laban is also on the INTERPOL’s warrant list, as Serbia is looking for him to serve a prison sentence. Laban was found guilty of receiving a bribe and was sentenced to six years in prison, the time he spent in detention was included in his sentence – two years and four months. He was suggested and supported to become a representative of the Serbian community in the Constitutional Court by representatives of Srpska Lista, a party with the support of the Serbian authorities, despite them knowing that he was convicted in Serbia and that he is in Kosovo as a fugitive.
„The polygraph found that Radoicic was not the perpetrator of the crime“
At the end of last year, Prosecutor Syle Hoxha stated that the Kosovo Police, in cooperation with the Special Prosecutor’s Office, is working to determine Radoicic’s role in the case of Ivanovic’s murder, but that because of the investigative phase of the case, the Prosecution cannot reveal evidence of Radoicic’s involvement in the murder of the former leader of the Civic Initiative „Serbia, Democracy, Justice“. The same prosecutor told Insajder a few days ago that, in addition to being suspected of involvement in Ivanovic’s murder, a criminal charge for organized crime and drug trafficking was also filed against Radoicic.
Not long after the Kosovo police tried to arrest Radoicic in November last year for suspicion of involvement in the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, and after it was specified that he was on the run, information emerged that Radoicic was interrogated in the Serbian police at the request of the Serbian prosecution.
„Radoicic gave a statement to the Serbian police authorities and to the biggest experts that this state has. The polygraph found that he was not the perpetrator of the crime. And they are looking for the one who is responsible for the murder on the Serbian side,“ the head of the Kosovo Office, Marko Djuric stressed.
The position of Serbian institutions on the new suspicions of the Kosovo authorities in connection with organized crime and drug trafficking can also be seen in the statement of Marko Djuric, who said that he does not believe Pristina on anything until he sees, as he said, „solid, concrete and internationally confirmed evidence“.
Kosovo Prosecutor, Syle Hoxha also told Insajder that 75 grams of cocaine were found during the search of Radoicic’s apartment.
Another dispute between the Kosovo and Serbian institutions concerns the place where Radoicic could be questioned. Radoicic’s lawyer, Zivojin Jokanovic told Insajder earlier that he had asked the Kosovo Prosecutor’s Office to question his client in central Serbia, and the prosecutor recently stated that Radoicic could only be questioned in the territory of Kosovo. The request by Radoicic’s lawyer is practically impossible because the Kosovo prosecutor has no jurisdiction in the territory of central Serbia, so he cannot question him there.
Furthermore, Radoicic can only be arrested in the territory of Kosovo, the prosecutor stated earlier.
„It is how it is for now. A warrant has been issued for Radoicic, it is a matter for the police in Serbia to act on the warrant. The Kosovo police searched Mitrovica and established that Radoicic was not there,“ the Kosovo prosecutor said.
Thus, Milan Radoicic’s case became an example of a legal vacuum due to the unresolved relations between Belgrade and Pristina, and this case is also used for the political crackdown of Belgrade and Pristina. Meanwhile, Radoicic appeared in public on a couple of occasions, in Belgrade, at meetings of representatives of Srpska Lista and Serbian authorities, but before the warrant for his arrest was issued.
Arrests after the escalation of Belgrade-Pristina relations
After the escalation of the relations between Belgrade and Pristina, police tried to arrest Radoicic in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica in November last year but did not find him at his apartment.
Kosovo Police members Nedeljko Spasojevic and Dragisa Markovic, as well as Marko Rosic, were then arrested during the action by the ROSU special police forces.
Just a day before this action, Radoicic was in Belgrade at a meeting between Srpska Lista and the President of Serbia, which was filmed by the media. Immediately after the arrests, Radoicic’s whereabouts were unknown, however, the Serbian Ministry of Interior announced three days later that he was questioned, without specifying where.
Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic and the head of the Kosovo Office, Marko Djuric then publicly claimed that Radoicic had passed a polygraph and had nothing to do with the murder of Ivanovic. Radoicic, together with representatives of Srpska Lista, met with President Vucic again on November 29th. The President of Serbia claimed on the public service provider (RTS) that Radoicic was informally questioned in Kosovo as early as February 21st, but that Pristina had covered it.
Who is Milan Radoicic
The name of Milan Radoicic has been mentioned sporadically in recent years, and he reached the public focus only after the murder of the leader of the Civic Initiative “Serbia, Democracy, Justice”, Oliver Ivanovic at the beginning of last year.
A month before this assassination, Kosovo Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj spoke about Milan Radoicic’s role, saying that he „has very good cooperation with his Serb colleagues“, including Radoicic.
Insajder journalists tried to get a response from representatives of the authorities in Serbia about Radoicic’s role in Kosovo on several occasions, but they claimed they did not know him.
The head of the Kosovo Office in the Serbian Government, Marko Djuric, the Minister of the Police and a member of the SNS Presidency, Nebojsa Stefanovic, and later the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic himself also claimed that they do not know anything about the role of Milan Radoicic.
However, although he said that he never talked to Radoicic, Vucic gave him credit for taking care of the Serbs in Kosovo at a press conference on September 12th, 2017.
„I thank them for keeping Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija safe, because they are keeping them safe, and their children as well. Both Rakic’s, and Jeftic’s and each of them. Radoicic’s and Stojanovic’s. Kostic’s and I do not know who else,“ Vucic said at the time.
At the same time, although representatives of the highest state institutions claimed that they did not know who Milan Radoicic is or his role in Kosovo, he was elected as Vice-President of Srpska Lista in July last year, the largest Kosovo Serb party – and a party openly supported by the ruling Serbian Progressive party.
Zvonko Veselinovic’s friend
The public first heard of Zvonko Veselinovic, a businessman from northern Kosovo, in 2011, when he was portrayed as one of the greatest heroes in the „defense“ of the Serbs in Kosovo.
While the local Serbs were preventing the secession of Kosovo from Serbia at the barricades for months, and Zvonko Veselinovic was being hailed a hero by the representatives of all parties, his machines, excavators and trucks were making new, alternative routes through the administrative line with Kosovo. According to Insajder’s research, these roads were used to smuggle goods between Serbia and Kosovo for years.
Radoicic was also accused of participating in the kidnapping of a Macedonian businessman in 2003, but he was acquitted of all charges after the kidnapped businessman changed his testimony eight years later. Radoicic was sentenced to a suspended sentence for forging documents.
When Veselinovic was arrested at the end of 2011, it was not clear at first whether he was arrested at KFOR’s request for organizing barricades or for abuses charged by Serbia. It turned out that it was an indictment for the hijacking of a HIPPO leasing truck. He was released on his own recognizance in December 2012.
Zvonko Veselinovic and Milan Radoicic, who are also friends, did business together. This is best demonstrated by the indictment raised against both of them for the hijacking of 32 Hypo Alpe Adria leasing vehicles.
The indictment was raised before the Special Court in Belgrade in 2011, and it coincided with Belgrade’s decision to start a dialogue with Pristina and the call for Serbs from the North of Kosovo to remove the barricades. Both were acquitted of charges in 2016.
Veselinovic and Radoicic were also on trial for participating in the illegal excavations of gravel on Corridor 10 during the period from June 2011 to June of the next year by providing funds for these works, excavation machinery and trucks for the transport of excavated materials.
All four defendants were acquitted in the first proceedings against them before the same court in Pirot in February 2017. However, after that, the Appellate Court in Nis ordered a retrial.
At a retrial before the Higher Court in Pirot, Zvonko Veselinovic was sentenced to two years in prison for misusing his position, while Milan Radoicic was acquitted.
Insajder addressed Veselinovic’s affairs in Kosovo in the „Patriotic Robbery“ series, which was broadcast on B92 TV in 2012.
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