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ICTY begins war crimes trial of former Serbian general Djordjevic

[JURIST] Prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive] Tuesday began the war crimes trial [press release] of former Serbian general Vlastimir Djordjevic [ICTY backgrounder, PDF; case materials]. Djordjevic was arrested [JURIST report] in 2007 and formally indicted [indictment, PDF] in July 2008 for his participation in crimes against humanity, murder, and illegal deportation. The indictment alleges that Djordjevic used his role in the Serbian government to commit the crimes, and the forces he commanded acted against those not involved in the hostilities. In his opening statement, prosecutor Chester Stamp accused [AFP report] Djordjevic of forcing the exile of as many as 800,000 Albanians, and the murder of hundreds. The prosecution's case is expected to last approximately 90 hours. The trial of Djordjevic is the fifth and the last trial that the ICTY will hear regarding war crimes in Kosovo.

The ICTY has pursued criminal action against other leaders in the Kosovo conflict. Former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic [ICTY case materials; JURIST news archive] was tried with committing war crimes in the region, but died before a verdict could be issued. The ICTY acquitted [JURIST report] former Kosovo Prime Minister and Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commander Ramush Haradinaj of all war crimes charges. Haradin Bala was convicted [UN Press release] and sentenced to 13 years in prison for his involvement with the KLA and the torture of prisoners of war. Two others were acquitted in that case. The ICTY is awaiting a verdict [ICTY case materials] in the trial of former Serbian President Milan Milutinovic and six other Serbian officials.

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