Kosovo court frees two Serbs in war crimes case

Lazovic and Vujacic released, politician Ivanov remains in custody pending trial for murder of ethnic Albanians

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

As the trial for the murders of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in the year 2000 continues, the Kosovska Mitrovica court released ethnic Serb suspects Aleksandar Lazovic and Nebojsa Vujacic from custody on Tuesday.

Their lawyer Nebojsa Vlajic said that the men, who are charged with committing the crimes of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder in Kosovska Mitrovica in 2000, “were released pending trial.”

“They no longer had to be on remain in custody since all witnesses in their cases had been heard,” Vlajic added.

Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic is also on trial for allegedly leading a Serb gang which was responsible for the murder of four ethnic Albanians in Mitrovica on April 14, 1999.

The former chief of the police department in Kosovska Mitrovica, Dragoljub Delibasic, is also accused of cooperating with Ivanovic in 2000.

Prosecutors linked the murder cases of ethnic Albanians Ilija Vujacic, Nebojsa Vujacic and Aleksandar Lazovic with Delibasic and Ivanovic, who were suspected of carrying out the murders and attacking Albanian houses during the Kosovo war.

The trial started on December 18 last year and all the accused pleaded “not guilty.” The prosecution recently re-started the cross examination process and listened to witnesses.

When Kosovo declared independence in February 2008, the situation in Mitrovica became complex as a number of Kosovo Serb police officers did not accept the ethnic Albanians authorities as legitimate.

Serbs tried to block ethnic Albanian government officials from working by blocking the bridges. The Serbs of Mitrovica still refuse to recognise the authority of the country’s courts and ethnic Albanian government officials.

However, in accordance with the 2013 Brussels Agreement, the majority of Kosovo Serbs decided to recognise the authority of Pristina’s security apparatus and voted in ballots, electing Serb officials who swore oaths to the Republic of Kosovo.

TRTWorld and agencies