Oliver Ivanovic
Oliver Ivanovic, one of the main political leaders of Serbs in northern Kosovo, as he casts his ballot during local elections. Getty

Serbian politician and suspected war criminal Oliver Ivanovic has been shot dead in front of his office in Kosovska Mitrovica on 16 January.

His lawyer, Nebojsa Vlajic, confirmed that the leader of the SDP Civic Initiative party in Kosovo was hit five times. He was taken to hospital where he was later confirmed to have died.

Police have blockaded northern parts of Kosovska Mitrovica while they hunt for the gunman, reports B92.

Polcie later discovered a burnt-out Opel Astra car in another Mitrovica street which they believe was used by the perpetrators.

Serbian state television reports President Aleksandar Vucic has called a top security meeting in the wake of the shooting.

Ivanovic was convicted of war crimes committed during the Serb-Kosovo conflict and sentenced to nine years in jail.

He was accused of encouraging the killing of ethnic Albanians by Serb paramilitary forces during Kosovo's war of independence.

However, he was released in April 2017 after the Appeals Court in Pristina decided to annul the guilty verdict and ordered a retrial.

Ivanovic's car was torched in July, three months after he was released from jail.

The 64-year-old was one of the top politicians in Serb-dominated northern Kosovo, a former Serbian province which declared its independence in 2008.

Tensions remain high in the area a decade later, and tens of thousands of Kosovo Serbs living in the north do not recognise Kosovo's independence.

Vlajic told Blic:"It seems to me that he died on the spot. We know now that he received five gunshot wounds. He was immediately sent to hospital and doctors tried to save him, but this was to no avail."