Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Serbian Defence Team Faces Problems in Kosovo

(TU No 454, 26-May-06)
According to a statement from the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, the two were being escorted to the village of Krushe e Vogel/Mala Krusa by UN police officers when local residents blocked the road. When the police attempted to clear the way peacefully, the “citizens responded by throwing rocks”. Three officers and a translator were apparently injured, along with several villagers.

Krushe e Vogel/Mala Krusa is mentioned in the indictment against Ojdanic and six other senior Serbian generals and politicians charged in connection with an alleged campaign to ethnically cleanse Kosovo of its Albanian inhabitants in 1999.

The two members of the defence team involved in the incident were defence counsel Tomislav Visnjic and an investigator, another of Ojdanic’s lawyers, Peter Robinson, confirmed to IWPR.

UNMIK head Soren Jessen-Petersen strongly condemned the incident, saying he was “outraged and disappointed” and calling for “respect for the rule of law”.

Trial proceedings against Ojdanic and his co-defendants are due to get underway in July this year.

The indictment against them alleges that between January and June 1999, Belgrade security forces “deliberately created an atmosphere of fear and oppression” in order to force ethnic Albanians to leave Kosovo. More than 800,000 people were allegedly expelled from their homes.

Prosecutors allege that as part of that campaign, more than 100 Kosovo Albanian men and boys from Mala Krusa/Kruse e Vogel were separated from the women, packed into a house in the village and then shot at by security forces before the house was set on fire.

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