Serbian border police officer. Photo:

Serbia Detains Kosovo Albanian for War Crimes; Prishtina Authorities Protest

A Serbian court has ordered custody for a Kosovo Albanian suspected of committing war crimes against Yugoslav Army troops during the Kosovo war - the fourth Kosovo Albanian arrested on war crime charges in the country this year.

 Belgrade Higher Court on Thursday ordered up to 30 days custody for a Kosovo Albanian man identified only by the initials F. K., who is suspected of committing war crimes in Kosovo in 1999.

Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said F.K. is suspected of committing the crimes against Yugoslav Army troops who were being held prisoner.

“The person is suspected of crimes committed in May 1999 in the region of the village of Kosare in Kosovo and Metohija against members of the Yugoslav Army,” Dacic said in a press release.

F. K. is the fourth Kosovo Albanian arrested in Serbia for war crimes this year. In June, Serbian police arrested Tefik Mustafa. In April, they arrested Sadik Duraku and in January, arrested Hasan Dakaj. All of the men are still in custody.

Albulena Haxhiu, Kosovo’s minister of justice, said on Wednesday that Belgrade has not responded to Pristina’s request to extradite its citizens who are currently in custody in Serbia, and that she did not expect a response.

“I cannot say if we will have a response or not, but considering that there has been a continuous refusal [by Serbia] to judicially cooperate, and considering that Serbia does not surrender to Kosovo either the Serbian criminals who committed war crimes in Kosovo during the war, or the criminals who committed terrorist attacks, in reference to the terrorist attack in Banjska… it is very difficult to say that we will have an answer [from Belgrade],” Haxhiu said, referring to an attack in Banjska in northern Kosovo by a gang of armed Serbs in September 2023.

Serbia does not recognise Kosovo’s independence and therefore Pristina has no extradition agreement with Belgrade.

Haxhiu said the families of the Kosovo citizens arrested in Serbia had sought financial assistance from the Kosovo government but added that there is no legal framework that “gives the Kosovo government the right to financially support the [lawyers] of those who are being kept in the prisons of Serbia”.

On July 1, Haxhiu wrote on Facebook that she had written to her counterpart in Serbia, Maja Popovic, requesting the extradition of four Kosovo citizens in custody in Serbia on war crime charges: Nezir Mehmetaj, Dakaj, Duraku and Mustafa.

and 04/07/2024 - 16:50

04 July 2024 - 16:50

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