Over 200 Serbs from Gjakovica are accused of alleged war crimes, charged with 59 criminal offenses

A civil society organization in Gjakovica/Gjakova that deals with „collecting evidence of war crimes and preparing legal allegations“ during the 1998-1999 war has filed over 59 criminal charges to the Special Prosecution in connection with alleged war crimes in the city. These charges include over 200 „indicted Serbs and their accomplices“, Pristina media reported earlier this month.

„The indictments are based on testimonies of family members and witnesses who were eyewitnesses of murders, rape and arson in the territory of Gjakovica,“ Koha daily stated.

There was an additional round of filing new charges last week.

Mevlyde Saraqi, a representative of the Civil Society Group which works on „collecting evidence of war crimes and preparing legal allegations against Serbian criminals during the 1998-1999 war“, said in a statement for Ekonomia online: „Seeing the lack of engagement and interest of the Kosovo Government and judicial institutions, we, as a civil society, started this work a few years ago. This year we received support from the Gjakovica Mayor, who provided an office for our organization. The office where citizens come every day to testify about what was, so far, unknown.“

Belgrade-based Vecernje Novosti wrote today that the list includes prominent Serbs whose families lived on the street formerly called, Srpska street in the centre of the city.

The Association of Displaced Serbs claims that it is an attempt to prevent the return of IDPs. „The lists with the names of the displaced people are made calculatingly, in order to prevent their return, while at the same time, the occupation and destruction of their property is continued,” said the Association.

„This is starting to come true, because the displaced Serbs are selling their homes and apartments for next to nothing,“ said the president of this association, Djokica Stojanovic.

„The claim, that these people committed crimes 20 years ago does not fit the truth and they all know it very well. The list containing the names of 30 Serbs from this city, mine included, was supplemented by another 200 of our most respectable citizens,“ Stanojevic added.

The number of criminal reports filed in the latest round remains unknown.

From the Special Prosecutor’s Office, there are no details at present whether the investigations were initiated and who was accused.

Around 12,500 Serbs lived in Gjakovica until the war. Gjakovica has a special significance for Kosovo Albanians after numerous testimonies of war crimes committed against Albanian civilians by Serbian paramilitary forces in the region.

In 2015, INTERPOL issued warrants for 16 Serbs from Kosovo and one Montenegrin citizen for alleged war crimes against the civilian population. Most of the warrants were issued for persons from Gjakovica, including former Military Security Agency chief, General Momir Stojanovic, who was also a member of the SNS (Srpska Napredna Stranka).



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