Kosovo Court urged to convict Serb ex-policeman of wartime killings
The prosecution called for Serb ex-policeman Goran Stanisic to be convicted of involvement in the killings of 13 ethnic Albanian civilians in an attack on the village of Sllovi/Slovinje during the Kosovo war in April 1999.
In closing arguments at Pristina Basic Court on Thursday, the prosecution said it had been incontrovertibly proved that 13 ethnic Albanian civilians were killed in the village of Sllovi/Slovinje in the Lipjan/Lipljan municipality of central Kosovo during an attack by Serbian forces in April 1999, and called for Goran Stanisic to be found guilty of involvement.
Prosecutor Drita Hajdari said that on the first count of the indictment, two witnesses had testified that Stanisic was among a group of uniformed men who killed five members of the Gashi family in Sllovi/Slovinje on April 15, 1999.
Two other witness testified that he was involved in another murder in the village on the same day by opening fire on the victim, she continued.
She said that “not just one, but several witnesses” had further testified that Stanisic was one of the men who took another six ethnic Albanians from a column of people who were leaving the village because of the attack on April 15, 1999 and put them up against a wall.
“They all were murdered,” Hajdari said.
Another witness testified that Stanisic was involved in a further murder the day afterwards, she added.
She argued that his alibi should be rejected because there were contradictions in the testimony of the defense witnesses, who are close relatives of the accused.
In the defence’s closing arguments, Stanisic’s lawyer Lubomir Pantovic questioned the credibility of the prosecution witnesses.
Pantovic argued that in the statements given by the witnesses after the end of the war, to the UN mission UNMIK and the EU rule-of-law mission EULEX, Stanisic’s name was not mentioned.
“The evidence provided by the prosecution is not convincing as the prosecution claims, because there are inconsistencies and ambiguities in the testimonies of the witnesses,” Pantovic said.
The defence lawyer told the court that he does not deny the fact that innocent civilians were killed on April 15 and 16, 1999 in villages in the Lipjan/Lipljan municipality.
But he said although the families of the victims are waiting for and deserve justice, Stanisic was not guilty and should be acquitted.
Stanisic also addressed the court and said that he felt sorry for the residents of the village but he was not guilty and did not assist the crime in any way.