Kosovo Ex-Army commanders charged of War Crimes

[TamilNet, Saturday, 08 January 2011, 21:46 GMT]
European Union (EU) prosecutors have charged former Kosovo Army Commanders, Sabit Geci, 52, and Riza Alija, 50, of "war crimes against civilian population" committed in two camps in Albania towards the end of Kosovo war, according to the indictment. The two were charged with committing war crimes on Kosavars fleeing the war and who were suspected of collaborating with Serbia or having political views different from the Kosavar Army. The prosecuters belong to the 3000-member EU Rule of Law (EULEX) mission which was launched in December 2008 to enforce the rule of law in the newly declared Kosovo and to supervise Kosovo's police, customs, and judiciary.

Sabit Geci, alleged War Criminal
Sabit Geci, alleged War Criminal
Geci and Alija were "directly involved in ordering and took part in mistreating persons kept in these detention centres," from the end of March or beginning of April to June 1999, the document alleged. Civilians "were beaten regularly and were hit with batons and nightsticks (truncheons), kicked, mistreated and verbally abused," it added. "They were kept in filthy and... unhealthy conditions.... They were denied food, water and medical treatment," the indictment said.

Unlike other war crimes charges prosecuted by trial-chambers in the International Criminal Court (ICC), or special tribunals formed by the ICC included ICTY (Yugoslavia), and ICTR (Rwnda), the charges in the current case was filed by the EULEX mission.

EULEX is the European Union's efforts to ensure Serb minority rights in Kosovo, and the EULEX rule-of-law mission was mandate to execute pioneering role in the new field of post-conflict executive policing. EULEX works under the general framework of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and has a unified chain of command to Brussels.

Not unsimilar to alleged war-crimes committed in Sri Lanka including abductions and forced prostitutions in the refugee camps and other traditionally Tamil areas by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and its collaborating Tamil paramilitaries, the findings in a report by Swiss Prosecutor Dick Marty, said the Kosavar soldiers abducted more than 500 Serbs, Albanians and other ethnic groups, most of them later killed in Albanian secret camps.

An editorial in Saturday's Washington Post by Sudetic who worked with the ICTY, said that Marty's report included allegations that American and European leaders, and UN Officials in Kosovo overlooked the "heinous crimes" committed by Kosovo leaders to preserve "political stability."

Kosovo leaders, like the Sri Lanka's counterparts. have waged an ugly media campaign to discredit Marty and his findings, and have threatened to launch a witchhunt against the Albanians who aided the inquiry, the editorial in Washington Post said. "These names are known and they will be made public very quickly," Kosovo Prime Minister Thaci said in a weekend interview with Kosovo private TV station Klan.

External Links:
EU: Policing Kosovo: The challenges awaiting EULEX
Radio Srbija: Vekaric: Geci arrested as result of good cooperation with EULEX
DT-AU: EU charges former Kosovo rebels with war crimes
EU: The Courts - the arena for determining the truth
WP: The hidden crimes of Kosovo


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