On the eve of the 19th anniversary of the murder of 14 Serbian farmers in Staro Gracko: Jevtic requests for the investigation to be reopened

Tomorrow is the 19th anniversary of the murder of 14 Serbian farmers in Staro Gracko. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Communities and Return in the Government of Kosovo, Dalibor Jevtic, on the eve of marking these unresolved murders, sent a letter to high-level Kosovo officials and representatives of the international community requesting for the investigation to be reopened. The letter, as it was announced from Jevtic’s cabinet, was sent to the President of Kosovo, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, the President of the Assembly of Kosovo, the Minister of Internal Affairs and Justice, the Ambassadors of the Quint and the Head of the EU mission in Kosovo.

„In the name of justice, the truth, on behalf of the victims’ families, and most of all in the name of the future, I ask and I urge you to make the greatest efforts and support us in finding and finally punishing the perpetrators of this most heinous crime. I urge you to use your position to influence the authorities in reopening the investigation because by terminating and closing it, those 14 other innocent victims were murdered once again, and the families were made to suffer even more. It is not possible that in the age we live in, it remains unanswered as to who and why committed this crime,“ reads a part of the letter reported by the media.

On July 23, 1999, in Staro Gracko, fourteen Serbs were killed at close range – Milovan Jovanovic (1969), Jovica Zivic (1970), Radovan Zivic (1967), Andrija Odalovic (1967), Slobodan Janicevic (1965) ), Mile Janicijevic (1957), Novica Janicijevic (1981), Momcilo Janicijevic (1946), Stanimir Dekic (1955), Bozidar Dekic (1947), Sasa Cvejic (1973), Ljubisa Cvejic (1939), Nikola Stojanović (1936) and Miodrag Tepsic (1951).

At first, the investigation was carried out by British KFOR units, but the case was then handed over to UNMIK. For years it was speculated that UNMIK never processed the case, despite the detailed investigation by the British soldiers.

The case was never solved, although one of the suspects, Muzlam Bitici, from the village of Veliki Alas near Lipljan, was arrested in 2007. He was released from custody after two months due to lack of evidence. In May of last year, it was confirmed for KoSSev that the investigation was officially closed. Families of the victims, however, were officially informed about this two months later.

A memorial service for the murdered farmers is held every year in Staro Gracko. Jevtic, as well as the Deputy Director of the Kosovo Office, Dusan Kozarev will attend tomorrow’s event.

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