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14 Serbians indicted in Kosovo war crimes charges

[JURIST] The Basic Court of Pec, a region in western Kosovo, has issued an indictment charging 14 Serbians in the region with committing war crimes in 1999. Although charging the suspects in Pec, the arrest warrants [B92 report] appear to show that at least some of the suspects reside outside of Kosovo. According to Ljubomir Pantovic, a lawyer in the area, the crimes are being classified under the Kosovo Criminal Code, which went into effect in 2013 and is more restrictive than the previously applicable code. Pantovic is also quoted as not being surprised by the charges, considering there is a group of 15 individuals that have warrants out for their arrest, and he expects more of these charges to come.

In January Oliver Ivanovic, a Serbian politician in Kosovo, was sentenced to nine years in prison after being arrested [JURIST reports] in January 2014 for the murder and torture of Albanian civilians during the 1999 war where Kosovo fought for its independence from Serbia [BBC backgrounders]. In response to the widespread commission of war crimes during the conflict in Kosovo, the EU's justice mission in Kosovo (EULEX) [official website] was created in 2008 [JURIST report] to assist in the effort of bringing perpetrators to justice. A EULEX prosecutor in the Kosovo Special Prosecution Office filed an indictment [JURIST report] against 15 defendants in November 2014 in the EULEX Mitrovica Basic Court. The individuals were accused of war crimes against civilians that occurred at a Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) detention center in Likovac in 1998. Fatmir Limaj, an ally of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci was acquitted [JURIST report] by EULEX in September 2014 for the third time after his retrial began [JURIST report] in April. Kosovo officially seceded [JURIST report] from Serbia in 2008.

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