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Kosovo Trial to Start Next Week

Serbian ex-police officer stands accused of crimes against ethnic Albanians.
By Simon Jennings
The trial of a former senior Serbian police official charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo begins next week.

Vlastimir Djordjevic, a former member of the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs and head of its Public Security Department, is indicted at the Hague tribunal for crimes relating to a widespread campaign of terror and violence against ethnic Albanians during 1999.

Djordjevic was allegedly part of an organised operation carried out between January 1 and June 20, 1999, to forcibly remove ethnic Albanians from Kosovo to ensure Serbian control over the territory.

The defendant is charged for his alleged part in what prosecutors describe as the systematic deportation, killing, and persecution of Kosovo Albanians, which is claimed to have resulted in hundreds of deaths as well as the removal of approximately 800,000 of their number from Kosovo.

According to the prosecution, Djordjevic commanded and had effective control over the Serbian police units who perpetrated crimes.

Djordjevic was arrested on June 17, 2007, in Montenegro after almost four years on the run.

The case starts just before the verdict is expected in another Kosovo war crimes trial involving former Serbian president Milan Milutinovic and five other senior Belgrade officials.

Simon Jennings is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.