Aleksandar Vučić will defend and protect Milan Radoičić from being extradited to Kosovo and Metohija according to the Interpol warrant, until his authority is threatened in any way, say Danas interlocutors, commenting on the international search for the former vice-president of the Serbian List and Vučić’s closest associate on the issue of Kosovo and Kosovo.
However, they do not rule out the possibility that Radoičić will still be arrested in Serbia due to the tightening of the rules and international pressure.
Who is all on Interpol’s wanted list?
The international police organization Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for the former vice president of the Serbian List, Milan Radoičić, and 19 other people because of the tragic events that took place on September 24 in Banjska, in the north of Kosovo.
As Kosovo is not a member of Interpol, international warrants are issued through UNMIK.
In addition to Radoičić, as unofficially claimed by Danas’ sources, nineteen other people were on Interpol’s wanted list: Danilo Vasić, Lazar Smigić, Marjan Radojević, Milorad Kerstović, Milorad Jevtić, Momčilo Vukotić, Saša Perić, Nemanja Stanković, Stefan Radojković, Stefan Jovanović, Trajko Vasić , Uglješa Jaredić, Uroš Millić, Velko Gjorgjević, Vladimir Radivojević, Vladimir Vukotić, Vllasimir Andrić, Vukašin Jaredić and Aleksandar Milosavlević.
As a reminder, Milan Radoičić took responsibility for the events in Banjska on September 24, when an armed conflict with the Kosovo Police took place in the morning. At that time, the Kosovo policeman Afrim Bunjaku was killed, and another was wounded, while three Serbs were also killed and several wounded from the group led by Milan Radoičić.
Milan Radoičić can be an inconvenient witness
Danas interlocutors point out that there are several reasons why the president will avoid acting on that warrant as long as he can.
The first and very important reason is that Radojičić can sometimes be an awkward witness in the case of Banjska. Another reason is that Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s judiciary, regardless of the fact that UNMIK and Interpol are involved.
In addition, as they state, Radocic’s extradition would be an explicit recognition of Kosovo’s independence and the most direct violation of the Serbian Constitution.
And that could be Vučić’s justification for not acting according to the Interpol warrant, according to Danas interlocutors.
“It was expected that Pristina would not give up on the demand that Radoičić be extradited to the Kosovo authorities. The Interpol warrant, however, is a surprise because it was not expected that Pristina would resort to UNMIK for such a thing,” political scientist Ognjen Gogić told Danas.
According to his words, Kosovo tried on several occasions to become a member of Interpol, in which Serbia hindered it. Kosovo considers itself a sovereign state that independently exercises judicial power.
Due to the warrant, Kosovo returned under the auspices of Resolution 1244
“Nevertheless, by turning to UNMIK, Kosovo independently returned under the auspices of Resolution 1244 and the jurisdiction of UNMIK for the purposes of prosecuting Radoičić. It is very atypical for Kosovo Prime Minister Aljbjn Kurti, who does not make such compromises,” Gogić notes.
He adds that there is no obligation for states to necessarily arrest persons who are on Interpol’s warrants, but they make that decision in accordance with their legislation and assessment of the situation.
“Serbia will probably not decide to arrest and extradite Radoičić . UNMIK police and courts have long since ceased to exist. That is why it is illogical that extradition is requested by one entity such as UNMIK, and then the proceedings are conducted before Kosovo’s judicial authorities, whose work UNMIK has nothing to do with. In such circumstances, there is no basic legal certainty. UNMIK requests the extradition of a person, although it cannot in any way guarantee his procedural rights. In addition, proceedings were initiated against Radoičić in Serbia. Serbia, in fact, protected Radoičić by promptly initiating proceedings against him. Thus, he has a valid excuse why he cannot extradite him to any other party”, emphasizes the interlocutor of Danas.
Gogić assesses that the authorities in Serbia have grounds to reject the request for extradition by anyone who requests the extradition of Radoičić. Apart from that, Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s judiciary, so he cannot be extradited regardless of the fact that UNMIK and Interpol are involved.
“Nevertheless, the circle around Radoicic is tightening and it is possible that he will be arrested,” concludes Gogić.
Aleksandar Arsenijević, the president of “Serbian Survival” from Kosovo, also explains to Danas why we should not expect the extradition of Milan Radoičić to Kosovo.
Kosovo and Serbia do not have signed extradition agreements
“Kosovo and Serbia have not signed any extradition agreements. Apart from that, Serbia does not recognize Kosovo and it is impossible to expect any extraditions. If UNMIK’s courts were in force, then the situation would certainly be different,” says Arsenijević.
He adds that as far as the Interpol warrants are concerned, it is a strong message, but it concerns Interpol members who have recognized Kosovo, or have strong political ties to Kosovo.
Lawyer Božo Prelevic states in a statement for Beta that the authorities in Belgrade, led by Aleksandar Vučić, must not arrest Milan Radoičić because they know that he did not organize the conflict in Banjska on September 24, and he can be an inconvenient witness.
According to him, it would be a problem for Serbia not to act on the Interpol warrant at the moment “when it is known who is protecting Radoičić in Serbia”.
Radoičić is not the main subject of Interpol
“Milan Radoičić is defended and guarded by the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić. The authorities rather clumsily and harmfully for this country tried to defend themselves from the events in Banjska by initiating proceedings against Radoičić and immediately releasing him. The question arises as to who is responsible for the tragic events in Banjska, because Radoičić certainly could not have procured a huge amount of weapons, military equipment, and even a combat vehicle on his own. It never occurred to Radoičić to organize a rebellion in the north of Kosovo for his own sake,” said Prelevic.
He emphasizes that Radoičić is not the main target of Interpol and that the authorities in Serbia also know this, but he could point to the right target.
“That’s why no investigation is being conducted in Belgrade regarding Banjska. If the prosecution did its job, it would conclude the colossal damage that was done to Serbian interests in Banjska. “Banjska is the turning point after which there is no more resistance in the north of Kosovo,” Prelevic assessed.
He also believes that Interpol’s warrant has a political connotation and that according to the Constitution of Serbia and Resolution 1244, it is difficult to understand Serbia’s cooperation through Interpol with its territory Kosovo and Metohija, because it could support the explicit recognition of Kosovo’s independence.
He also believes that the authorities in Belgrade will neither arrest nor hand over Radoičić to the Kosovo authorities, and that Serbia will face serious consequences because of this.
“One cannot speak of a country with the rule of law in case of non-compliance with Interpol warrants. It is not only a question of Radoičić’s arrest and possible extradition, but also why the proceedings against him are not conducted in Belgrade. Such an attitude of the current government sends a message that it is possible to create an armed group in Serbia, which will cause many people to die and be wounded, and that this means nothing for the government. The lack of action by the prosecution in the case of Banjsko indicates that it was not Radoičić’s idea,” lawyer Prelevic points out.
In order to preserve his seat, Vučić will, if necessary, give up Radoičić as well
And the lawyer Aleksandar Olenik believes that the Interpol warrants were expected and probably agreed behind closed doors, all as part of Serbia’s acceptance to conduct an investigation and punish those responsible.
“At this moment, there is no reason to doubt the legality of issuing warrants. I think that Vučić will make a decision when he determines how much his power will be threatened by further obstruction of the investigation. As always, he will do everything to stay in power,” says Olenik. Vučić’s former close associate Zorana Mihajlović has a similar attitude.
“Given that Vučić is using his family in the campaign, the question is why he would not renounce Radoičić.” He will protect him as much as he can, in all ways, because Radoičić did not carry out the terrorist attack himself, but was supported by Belgrade and the raising of the Serbian army. Well, I guess there are others responsible. “After all, the Always for Serbia movement announced a month ago that an investigation is underway and that the warrants will be issued against Radoičić,” says Mihajlović.
He adds that the terrible damage done by Vučic is guarding Radoičić, who at the time of Banjska was the first vice-president of the Serbian List.
“Guarding terrorists marks Serbia as a country that defends terrorism.” The biggest threat to the whole world is terrorism. So this is not a question of Vučić and his assembly, this is a question of Serbia. So he can say through his media that it is pressure from that terrible west, but 50,000 Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija fled from his rule,” concludes Mihajlović.
Srđan Milivojević, an official of the Democratic Party, believes that when Aleksandar Vućić is faced with a dilemma, either he and his omnipotence, or one of his closest associates, will always choose his chair.
“Just as he didn’t vote for Vulin and then dismissed him in the middle of the election campaign, just as he beat his chest and shouted that I won’t give Gašić, then he dismissed him after a simple comment, so now he will expressly renounce Radoičić as well. The problem is that for Vučić, Radoičić is one of the most potentially dangerous witnesses of the collaborator, who knows a lot about the extremely painful affairs that lead directly to Aleksandar Vučić. “It is scandalous that the collapse of Aleksandar Vučić’s Kosovo-Metohian policy after the dramatic events in Banjska was not discussed in the National Assembly thanks to the cowardice of the regime,” Milivojević points out.
He reminds that Serbia has experienced many times in the past what the response of the international community looks like to our reckless moves and schizophrenic war adventures, in the creation of which Aleksandar Vučić almost always participated, either as a young radical or as a mature progressive.