Man Cleared of Attacking US Embassy in Belgrade

Belgrade District Court clears man of setting fire to the US embassy in riots in 2008 but jails him for theft of clothing.The court jailed Milan Zivanovic, 24, on Thursday for one year after finding him guilty of stealing a leather jacket and gloves, which belonged to an embassy employee.

But the court cleared Zivanovic of setting fire to the US embassy in Belgrade, which occured during riots that followed Kosovo 2008 declaration of independence.

Judge Milan Londrovic said that there was no evidence that Zivanovic, acting alone or in a group, was responsible.

Zivanovic, who is a student, was instead found guilty of coming to the embassy after the rally together with several unidentified individuals and stealing a leather jacket and gloves that belonged Branislav Lukic, who worked at the embassy.

In deciding the sentence, the court took into account thatthe defendant had no prior convictions and that his judgment was compromised at the time.

Zivanovic was convicted of aggravated theft, the punishment for which is between one and eight years in prison.

Zivanovic and the Belgrade District Prosecutor’s Office have the right to appeal.

The embassy was set on fire on February 21, 2008, following Kosovo’s declaration of independence, when unidentified perpetrators threw stones, flares and other objects at the building, smashing doors and windows and causing a fire. Zoran Vujovic, aged 20 from Novi Sad, died in the blaze.

In mid-April, the Higher Court in Belgrade launched an investigation and placed 11 suspects in detention.

The High Court in Novi Sad also launched an investigation and detained two suspects who were minors when the incident took place.

In July, the Higher Prosecutor’s Office indicted 12 people for setting the embassy on fire. The trials of the other 11 suspects are ongoing.

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