The US urges Serbia to address the issue of hiding the massacres in Kosovo

The White House

 The US State Department said that those responsible for the carcass movement of Kosovo Albanian civilians killed in the 1999 war on mass graves in Serbia should be brought to justice.

The State Department said Tuesday it has brought a report from a Belgrade-based NGO, the Humanitarian Law Center, to conceal the crimes in Kosovo at the attention of Serbia's newly-elected war crimes prosecutor.

"We believe that those who are guilty of movement of the bodies of Albanian civilians from Kosovo into mass clandestine graves in Serbia to hide the evidence of previous massacres should be brought to justice," said Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan in response to a question by a member of the House of Representatives, Eliot L. Engel.

Engel, who was among the first to lobby for Kosovo's independence, asked the State Department whether has asked the Serbian government to prosecute the perpetrators of the massacres or whether any form of international court would be necessary.

He cited the January 2017 report by the Humanitarian Law Center, HLC, detailing the mass graves in Serbia that contained the troops of 941 Kosovo Albanians, mostly civilians killed outside the Kosovo warfare situation in 1999.

The HLC claimed that 110 people, including senior Serbian officials, remain unsupported for removing of hundreds of corpses in an attempt to cover the massacres during the Kosovo war.

"We have raised this issue with Serbian officials at all levels of government, including with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic," the State Department responded to Engel.

"In addition, we remind Serb officials that the prosecution of human rights violations as these are necessary for Serbia to fulfill its obligations under Chapter 23 of the EU Acquis," Sullivan added.

Chapter 23 in the body of European legislation that Serbia needs to approve for joining the EU has to do with the judiciary and fundamental rights.

In a special exchange with Engel, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also said that the State Department shares his "disappointment" with the lack of progress in the case of the Bytyqi brothers, three US citizens of Albanian descent killed in 1999.

Ylli, Agron and Mehmet Bytyqi were captured by Serbian police at the border with Kosovo after the end of the war helping a Roma family to leave Kosovo.

Their bodies were later found in a mass grave at a police training center in Petrovo Selo in Eastern Serbia.

Three sources told BIRN earlier this year that the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said during a visit to Washington in 2015 that the former senior police officer Goran 'Guri' Radosavljevic and another unknown person were responsible for the killings.

Radosavljevic is a member of the Vucic Progressive Party's executive board.

This media reported in 2015 that evidence gathered by Serbian investigators, the FBI and Bytyqi family lawyers suggested that the alleged perpetrators were known to the Belgrade authorities for years.

Radosavljevic, who now runs several security companies in Belgrade, was briefly investigated by the Serbian prosecution for this crime, but never indicted.
The US urges Serbia to address the issue of hiding the massacres in Kosovo The US urges Serbia to address the issue of hiding the massacres in Kosovo Sunday, December 17, 2017 Rating: 5
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