Serbian President accused of spreading hate by denying Recak massacre

A Kosovo lawyer filed a criminal complaint against Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, accusing him of spreading hatred by claiming that a 1999 massacre of Kosovo Albanian civilians was fabricated.

Lawyer Tome Gashi filed a criminal complaint to Kosovo’s Special Prosecution on Friday, alleging that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic “intentionally incited and spread hatred, division and intolerance between ethnic groups, Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo”.

“[He] systematically denied the Recak massacre, in which Serbian occupying forces killed 45 Albanian civilians of various ages,” the complaint said.

Vucic on Thursday accused the former head of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission, William Walker, of faking the Recak massacre, which happened in January 1999.

He said that “it was all fabricated by that global fraudster, scammer and swindler, Walker”.

After the mass killings by Serbian forces in Recak, Walker went to the scene and said that the killings were was “a crime against humanity”.

Walker’s involvement was a factor in NATO’s subsequent decision to bomb Yugoslavia in order to make Serbian forces end their military campaign in Kosovo.

A spokesperson for the European Union’s mission in Kosovo told BIRN on Friday it was up to the courts to determine whether or not any statement constitutes a criminal offence.

“One thing is clear, there is no place for negating or relativising the events which took place in Racak in Kosovo in January 1999. Denial and revisionism are contrary to the values of the European Union and are contrary to the project of integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union,” an EU spokesperson said.

Vucic’s comments came after Prishtina Basic Court convicted Kosovo Serb MP Ivan Todosijevic of incitement to ethnic, racial or religious intolerance for claiming that the Recak massacre was staged.

Todosijevic was elected as an MP with the Belgrade-backed Srpska Lista bloc in October and was previously a minister for administration and local government in the Kosovo government.

He was sacked in March this year for making his comments about the massacre at a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

“The reason for the [NATO] aggression in our country was the so-called humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo and the fabricated Recak [massacre], and the Albanian terrorists are the ones who made all this up and committed the biggest crimes in Kosovo,” Todosijevic said.

He was sentenced to two years in prison, but can appeal against the verdict.

06/12/2019 - 19:55

06 December 2019 - 19:55

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.