EU jail ex-Kosovo Albanian guerrillas for war crimes

Judges in the EU have sentenced 11 former Kosovo Albanian guerrillas for war crimes.

EU jail ex-Kosovo Albanian guerrillas for war crimes

World Bulletin / News Desk

 European Union judges in Kosovo sentenced 11 former Kosovo Albanian guerrillas, two of them close to ex-prime minister Hashim Thaci, to prison terms on Wednesday for war crimes committed during Kosovo's 1998-99 pro-independence uprising.

In two parallel trials, judges from the EU police and justice mission said atrocities were committed against Kosovar civilians held in a camp run by the then-Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which fought Serbian security forces in the war.

The EU mission, established after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, handles sensitive war crimes cases in a country where ex-guerrillas are revered as heroes of the struggle for statehood.

The charges in the two trials also related to the killing in 1998 of a Serbian police officer and a Kosovo Albanian civilian accused by the KLA of being a spy for Serbia.

Sami Lushtaku, a former senior KLA commander, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Sylejman Selimi, currently Kosovo's ambassador to neighbouring Albania, was sentenced to eight years for mistreating civilians. He once headed the Kosovo Security Force, a lightly-armed 2,500-strong civil protection and crisis response force trained by NATO.

Lushtaku and Selimi were close allies of former Prime Minister Thaci, the former KLA commander in chief who is now Kosovo's foreign minister.

A member of parliament from the ruling Kosovo Democratic Party (PDK) was sentenced to three years in prison while the jail terms for eight others ranged from three to seven years.

The verdict may complicate a parliamentary vote due on Friday on creating a new Kosovo war crimes court to try ethnic Albanians accused of committing atrocities in the 1998-99 war.

The 11 defendants were war comrades and associates of some current lawmakers and their jailing could make them reluctant to approve the war crimes court legislation, analysts said.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Mayıs 2015, 16:34