The HLC launches the report in Belgrade. Photo: Medija Centar.

Serbian Officials Accused of Kosovo Massacre Cover-Up

Belgrade’s Humanitarian Law Centre claimed that 110 people, including senior Serbian officials, remain unprosecuted for removing hundreds of corpses in a bid to cover up massacres during the Kosovo war.  

The Humanitarian Law Centre said in a new report published on Tuesday that 110 people who participated in operations to remove and hide the bodies of hundreds of Kosovo Albanians killed by Serbian forces in 1999 are still living freely in Serbia.

The HLC said that those involved in the wide-ranging cover-up included army and police officials, court representatives, staff at the prosecutor’s office, members of the Territorial Defence forces and senior Yugoslav officials.

It said that it had proof that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic gave an order to his interior minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic to conduct the operation to hide the bodies of the murdered Kosovo Albanians in an attempt to avoid prosecution by the UN war crimes court in The Hague.

“We know that there was a meeting in President’s Milosevic office, two days after the NATO bombing [of Yugoslavia] started [in March 1999], and at that meeting they made a plan for that operation and the goal was to avoid any responsibility for those crimes,” said HLC researcher Nemanja Stjepanovic.

He alleged that interior minister Stojiljkovic and officials from the interior ministry’s security department, Radomir Markovic and Vladimir Djordjevic, also attended the meeting, along with other army and police officials.

Stjepanovic said it was decided that Djordjevic would be in charge of the operation alongside two other officials from the interior ministry.

“We tried to get all the information about every one of these officials who we identified as responsible for crimes and for hiding bodies in mass graves, but the police usually gave us files about those who held some positions at the ministry but are now pensioners. We couldn’t get information about the key people from that operation, they said to us that they don’t have it,” he said.

Djordjevic was sentenced to 18 years in prison by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague for the murder and persecution of Kosovo Albanians, including direct involvement in the cover-up.

Stojiljkovic killed himself in Belgrade prior to his extradition to The Hague. Markovic is currently on trial for 1999 murder of opposition journalist Slavko Curuvija.

Read the full story on Balkan Insight.

Vanja Djuric, Balkan Insight 31/01/2017 - 17:59

31 January 2017 - 17:59

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