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Serbia court sentences ex-paramilitary officers for Kosovo killings

[JURIST] The War Crimes Chamber of the Belgrade District Court [official website, in Serbian] on Thursday convicted [judgment, DOC, in Serbian] four former members of a Serbian paramilitary group [case materials, in Serbian] for the killings of 14 Kosovo Albanians in 1999, handing down sentences ranging from 15 to 20 years. The court concluded that Zeljko Djukic, Dragan Medic, Dragan Borojevic, and Miodrag Solaj, members of a paramilitary group called the Scorpions, intended to kill [BETA report] when they fired upon 19 civilians in northern Kosovo in March 1999. The court sentenced Djukic, Medic and Borojevic to 20 years in prison and sentenced Solaj to 15 years in prison because he was younger than 18 [Reuters report] when the killings occurred. Five children who survived the shooting testified at the ex-Scorpions' trial, which began in September 2008 and lasted 33 days.

Last week, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] marked the 10-year anniversary of the conflict's end by reporting that many human rights abuses that occurred during the war in Kosovo [USDOS backgrounder] have gone uninvestigated and unpunished [JURIST report]. However, prosecutors have secured several convictions. In April, four Serbian ex-policemen were convicted [JURIST report] of killing of 48 Albanian civilians during the war in Kosovo in 1999. In October 2008, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina [official website] sentenced ex-policeman Vaso Todorovic to six years in prison [JURIST report] for the capture and detention of 40,000 Bosnian Muslims in 1995. Earlier that month, four Bosnian Serbs were arrested for the killing [JURIST report] of 200 civilians in Koricanske Stijene.

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