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Serbia police arrest 9 suspected of Kosovo war crimes

[JURIST] Spokesperson for Serbia's Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor [official website] Bruno Vekaric Saturday announced the arrest of nine individuals suspected of committing war crimes during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The nine, members of the Serbian paramilitary group [B92 report] Sakali, are accused of the systematic murders [AP report] of 41 ethnic Albanians in May 1999. In all, roughly 200 civilians residing in and around the village of Cuska are believed to have been killed by these and 15 other suspects. Those in custody are scheduled to appear before an investigative judge.

In June, 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 have gone uninvestigated and unpunished [JURIST report]. Prosecutors have nonetheless secured several convictions. A week after AI's report, a Serbian court convicted [JURIST report] four former paramilitary officers of killing 14 Albanians in northern Kosovo. In April, four Serbian ex-policemen were convicted [JURIST report] of killing of 48 Albanian civilians in Suva Reka. In October 2008, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina [official website, in Bosnian] 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 of 200 civilians [JURIST report] in Koricanske Stijene.

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