Zoran Vukotic (standing) at Mitrovica Basic Court during his trial in a separate case in 2018. Photo: BIRN.

Kosovo’s Top Court Upholds Jailing of Serb Ex-Policeman for Wartime Rape

Kosovo’s Supreme Court confirmed the conviction of a Serb ex-policeman, Zoran Vukotic, for the rape and expulsion of ethnic Albanian civilians in the Kosovo town of Vushtrri/Vucitrn during the war in 1999.

Kosovo’s Supreme Court has upheld the second-instance verdict sentencing former policeman Zoran Vukotic to 13 years in prison for committing rape and participating in the expulsions of ethnic Albanian civilians from the town of Vushtrri/Vucitrn during the war in May 1999.

The Supreme Court’s decision said that he was correctly convicted of “war crimes against the civilian population”, which he committed with other members of a Serbian police reservist unit and “other armed persons”.

Vukotic was sentenced to ten years in prison by Pristina Basic Court in July 2021 and was given the same jail term after a retrial in November 2022.

In February 2023, the Court of Appeals sentenced him to an additional of three years’ imprisonment – a total of 13 years.

He had legally challenged the decisions of the first and second instance courts at the Supreme Court.

The initial Prishtina Basic Court judgment was hailed as historic because Vukotic was the first person to be convicted of wartime rape by a Kosovo court.

The indictment said that he raped his victim “as part of a broad and systemic attack on ethnic Albanian women”.

Vukotic is already serving a six-and-a-half-year sentence for war crimes after being found guilty in another case in May 2018.

He was convicted of illegally detaining, beating and torturing ethnic Albanian inmates at the Smerkonica prison in the Mitrovica region from May to early June 1999.

The former policeman was extradited from Montenegro to Kosovo in November 2016.

08/11/2023 - 20:15

08 November 2023 - 20:15

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