Ivan Todosijevic was convicted of inciting ethnic hatred, ten months after the Supreme Court ordered him to be retried for his statement that a 1999 massacre of Kosovo Albanians by Serbian forces was “fabricated” by “terrorists”.
Prishtina Basic Court sentenced former minister Ivan Todosijevic to one year in prison on Wednesday for incitement to ethnic, racial or religious intolerance, ten months after his initial conviction was quashed and he was sent for a retrial.
The Prishtina judge found Todosijevic guilty for his comments about the January 1999 massacre of Kosovo Albanians in the village of Racak/Recak, which he claimed was staged.
But the judge gave him a shorter sentence than in 2019, when he was initially convicted and sentenced to two years in prison.
Wednesday’s verdict can be appealed.
Todosijevic, a former Kosovo minister and MP, was not present when the verdict was announced but on Monday he told court that his statement was not against the Albanian community.
“I did not intend in any way to offend anyone, especially the [Kosovo] Albanian community,” he said.
Todosijevic was elected as an MP with the Belgrade-backed Srpska Lista bloc in the February 2021 snap elections, but did not take up his seat because of his initial conviction.
He was convicted by the Basic Court in December 2019 and the verdict was confirmed by the Court of Appeals in August 2021. But in December last year, Kosovo Supreme Court ordered a retrial.
Three years ago, Todosijevic claimed that “the Albanian terrorists are the ones who made all this up and committed the biggest crimes in Kosovo”.
He made the statement about the Racak/Recak massacre at a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, which was launched to stop Slobodan Milosevic’s military campaign against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
The Racak/Recak massacre, in which 45 Kosovo Albanians were murdered, was one of the incidents that sparked NATO’s intervention in the country.
As a result of his statement, Todosijevic was fired from his position as minister for administration and local government in the Kosovo government.
19 October 2022 - 17:15
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