State broadcaster RTS is reporting that the autopsy documents issued by Libyan authorities do not list the cause of death, but rather enumerate and describe the injuries sustained by the victims. New autopsies will be performed in Belgrade. Stankovic and Stepic were kidnapped from a convoy of diplomatic vehicles in Sabratha, Libya, last November, and were held hostage until February 19, when they died during an air strike carried out by the United States, targeting an Islamic State site near the town. Earlier in the day, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic announced that the aircraft transporting the bodies would be touching down in Belgrade in the evening, and pointed out to "the enormous efforts that have been made for the plane to take off from Tripoli."
"Our company did not get permission for overflight. All day we worked on it, the Libyan government was offering its plane, we wanted to send ours, we were not allowed neither," Dacic has been quoted as saying by Tanjug. He "added that only during the night permission was received to engage a plane to transfer the bodies to Istanbul, from where they will be delivered to Serbia on a regular flight to Belgrade." Dacic also said that "those who abducted and killed them" are guilty for the deaths of Stankovic and Stepic.
In reference to the November kidnapping, the minister said that "our diplomats had no permission to leave Tripoli, procedures were not respected." But he spoke against the introduction of "red herrings" and rejected the claims that "arms trade" was taking place. "They certainly did not trade in arms," Dacic stressed. "If procedures had been followed, it certainly would not have come to this," he added, noting that a working group and state organs would "determine all the circumstances." Dacic also said that Serbia is seeking an investigation into whether the U.S. knew that the Serbian nationals were at the site targeted by the air strike. "The Americans say that they did not know, but give us the evidence - our services say that they had informed them," Dacic said, adding, "obviously a mistake was made."
Speaking about the two killed embassy staffers, Dacic said: "They would be alive if they had not been killed in the air strike." Dacic also announced that Serbia's ambassador in Tripoli will be "withdrawn" and added that the possible closure of the embassies in Syria and Tunisia should also be "seriously considered - bearing in mind a lot of are people are there, and there are also economic interests."