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Serbia court sentences first Kosovo Albanian for war crimes

[JURIST] A Serbian war crimes court on Monday sentenced Anton Lekaj [indictment], a former member of the Kosovo Liberation Army [BBC backgrounder], to 13 years in prison for the murder of four Kosovo gypsies, as well as several instances of torture, rape and sexual molestation committed in 1999. The court determined that Lekaj abducted the group of gypsies and held them for several days before, committing torture and rape against the group, before four died under Lekaj's watch. Monday's sentence is the first sentence by Serbia's special war crimes tribunal against an ethnic Albanian for Kosovo related crimes; eight Serb policemen have been indicted for murders of ethnic Albanians and are awaiting trial.

The trial began last year, but was immediately adjourned [JURIST report] because Lekaj refused to recognize the Serbian court and its prosecutor, and requested to be tried in front of a United Nations-backed tribunal at The Hague. RFE/RL has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

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