Prishtina Basic Court

Kosovo Begins Two War Crime Trials of Serbs in Absentia

The trials of former Serbian policeman Milovan Jovanovic and former Serbian military reservist Dejan Racic, both accused of war crimes against ethnic Albanians, opened in Pristina in the defendants' absence.

Milovan Jovanovic and Dejan Racic went on trial in their absence on war crimes charges in two separate trials that opened at Pristina Basic Court on Wednesday.

According to the indictment, read in court by special prosecutor Ilir Morina, Jovanovic sexually assaulted against an ethnic Albanian woman during the Kosovo war, using violence and other inhumane methods.

The indictment alleges that Jovanovic, in collaboration with other unidentified members of the Serbian police, paramilitary and military forces, participated in a systematic attack on the Albanian civilian population.

As Jovanovic was indicted in absentia and will not be present in court, he will be represented a lawyer appointed by the Kosovo Bar Association, Ljubinko Todorovic.

Racic, a member of the Serbia’s military reserves, is accused of participating in the sexual assault of an ethnic Albanian woman, using violence and other inhumane methods.

The indictment alleges that the crime was committed during a systematic attack by Serbian military, paramilitary and police forces on the civilian population across the entire territory of Kosovo.

Racic will be represented by Kosovo Bar Association lawyer Osman Mehmeti.

Wednesday’s hearing was a closed session on the request of special prosecutor Morina.

In 2019, in an attempt to boost prosecutions of war crimes, the Kosovo Assembly adopted an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code to allow trials in absentia in cases involving offences against international humanitarian law and international criminal law that were committed between January 1990 and June 1999.

In December last year, Kosovo’s special prosecutor Drita Hajdari said that since 2018, the prosecution filed 33 war crimes indictments, charging a total of 89 suspects.

and 21/02/2024 - 17:30

21 February 2024 - 17:30

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