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Kosovo Indicts Roma Ex-Member of Serbian Forces for War Crime

An ethnic Roma former member of Serbian armed forces was charged in absentia with expelling ethnic Albanians from their homes and looting and burning property during the Kosovo war.

Kosovo’s Special Prosecution announced on Monday that it has filed an indictment charging a former member of the Serbian armed forces, identified only by the initials I.B., with committing war crimes against ethnic Albanians during the Kosovo war.

The prosecution said in a statement that during the war, the suspect, who is Roma by ethnicity, “joined Serbian police and military forces” in the village of Zajm in the Kline/Klina municipality.

“As a member of the group, he constantly participated in the looting of the civilian population and their homes by taking valuables such as vehicles, livestock, televisions and other items from the homes of some residents,” it alleged.

He also “participated in the burning of houses in the village of Zajm and the surrounding villages”.

Two bodies were found in one of the burned-out houses, it added.

Using weapons to threaten and intimidate, the suspect “participated in the expulsion of residents of Albanian nationality from their homes”, the prosecution further claimed.

It said that the suspect is currently “on the run”.

The indictment was filed to the Basic Court in Pristina so the suspect can be tried in his absence.

It is the third in-absentia indictment filed for war crimes in Kosovo.

In May this years, a former Serbian armed forces reservist was charged with committing crimes against the civilian population and another wartime member of Serbian armed forces was indicted for participating in a massacre in the village of Recak/Racak in January 1999, when 44 ethnic Albanian civilians were killed.

In 2019, in an attempt to boost prosecutions of war crimes, the Kosovo Assembly adopted an amendment to the criminal procedure code to allow trials in absentia in cases involving offences against international humanitarian law and international criminal law that were committed between January 1990 and June 1999.

Source : Balkaninsight