Ivan Pajic on Jeta ne Kosove. | Photo: BIRN.

Witness in Bytyci brother murder speaks out

Ivan Pajic, an alleged eyewitness to the murders of the three Bytyci brothers, American citizens who fought in the KLA, gave an exclusive interview to Jeta ne Kosove.

Ivan Pajic was a young man when he witnessed the murder of one of the Bytyci brothers, who were three American citizens and former members of Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, that disappeared weeks after the end of the Kosovo War.

In an exclusive interview for BIRN’s television programme Jeta ne Kove, Pajic spoke to Faik Ispahiu and recounted details about the murders of the three brothers Ylli, Mehmet, and Agron Bytyci, who were killed next to a police training center in the Serbian town Petrovo Selo in July, 1999.

“I was an eyewitness to the murder of one of the Bytyci brothers,” Pajic said, adding that the murder happened in the presence of the General Goran Radosavljevic, nicknamed “Guri,” who had been the commander of the special unit at the police training camp.

Pajic recounted how on July 9, 1999, he saw three civilians and three soldiers next to the training center in Petrovo Selo and ran away when one of the soldiers shot one of the civilians.

Pajic realized who the three civilians had been only after he saw the murders reported in the media. The bodies of the three brothers were only found 2001, when a mass grave of 67 women and men of Kosovo was unearthed in Petrovo Selo.

For 14 years, Pajic was silent and came forward with his testimony for the first time only in 2013. Since then he has given statements to the Serbian  prosecution in 2015 and most recently in 2017. But as a result of testifying, Pajic claims, he has faced threats and an attempted murder.

“There are some unclarified circumstances. I think it was November 16, 2015, when I started my car, and my car exploded, I had burns on my face and body,” explained Pajic, adding that the culprit behind this incident was never found.

One of the reasons that prompted Pajic to speak was the death of his father, who he claims was poisoned while held in detention. He later died in 2016. Pajic believes that his father’s alleged murder was prompted by the fact that he had testified for war crimes in Kosovo.

“He was drafted to drive state trucks. He went wherever he had to. He was also ordered to drive refrigerator trucks and so on,” Pajic said, adding that his father told him that he was shocked by what he saw in the trucks. “I cannot say what was in the refrigerator tucks, but it was rumored that there were bodies… I cannot confirm because I didn’t see it.”

Pajic also claimed that his father had given statements to the Kosovo authorities, including EULEX prosecutors and even American government officials.

Pajic accused current Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic of neglecting his father’s case, who he believes was held in detention unjustly.  

“[President] Vucic wants this case to end, but the other guy [Ivica Dacic] wants this to be neglected… This case has cost me with the murder of my father,” said Pajic.

Asked why he had not spoken earlier about the case, Pajic admitted he felt guilt about it.

“It is not that it hasn’t burdened me, but to be honest, it is difficult to come out against your state,” he concluded.

02/02/2018 - 13:13

02 February 2018 - 13:13

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