[JURIST] Serbia’s war crimes court sentenced nine former paramilitaries on Tuesday for their involvement in the genocide of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in 1999. Of the 11 men on trial, only two escaped prison, with the rest receiving sentences [Reuters report] between two and 20 years for killing as many as 120 civilians in four Kosovo villages. All of the detainees were members of “the Jackals,” a Serbian paramilitary group responsible for killing Muslim civilians during the 1998-1999 conflict in Kosovo [JURIST news archive]. The prosecution criticized the court’s two acquittals and stated they will appeal those verdicts.
War crimes committed during the Kosovo War have been prosecuted in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website], but relations between Serbia and Kosovo remain strained. Two former Serbian secret service officials were arrested [JURIST report] Tuesday under suspicion that they planned the 1999 killing of an anti-government journalist. In August Amnesty International [advocacy website] accused [JURIST report] the UN Mission in Kosovo [official website] of failing to adequately investigate war crimes committed during the conflict. Kosovo held its first local elections [JURIST report] in November 2013 since it seceded from Serbia in 2008. Serbia still does not recognize the secession.