Belgrade: A leading Kosovo Serb politician was on Tuesday fatally shot outside his party offices in Mitrovica, a restive Serb-held city in Kosovo, media reports said.

Oliver Ivanovic, 64, was gunned down by unidentified assailants as he arrived at his SDP party headquarters just after 8 a.m. and was later pronounced dead by medical staff at Mitrovica Hospital.

He was shot five times in the chest, Efe news agency reported, quoting Serbian state TV.

The Serb politician, who previously served as head of the Serbian government's Ministry for Kosovan Affairs, had been sentenced to nine years in jail after being found guilty of war crimes by a specialised European Union court, although an appeals court in Kosovo's capital had overturned the ruling and ordered a fresh trial.

He allegedly ordered the killing of ethnic Albanians in 1999 during the Kosovo war.

Albanians comprise the majority of Kosovo's population.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a move that was never fully recognised by Belgrade, which has maintained it is an autonomous region of the country.

Northern Mitrovica has a majority Serb population and has been administered independently from the rest of Kosovo as per the currently pending EU initiative to create the Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo. (IANS)