Former militant commander Salih Mustafa has been sentenced to 26 years for atrocities dedicated in the course of the 1998-1999 battle
The Netherlands-based Kosovo Specialist Chambers has sentenced Salih Mustafa, a former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Military (KLA), a guerrilla group comprised of ethnic Albanians, to 26 years behind bars for battle crimes dedicated in the course of the 1998-1999 battle with Serbia.
The court docket’s first battle crimes verdict was handed on Friday, with Mustafa being discovered responsible of murdering one prisoner and torturing a number of others at a KLA compound in Zllash, Kosovo, in April 1999. The previous militant commander was acquitted of one other cost of mistreating detainees.
Mustafa, who was arrested in 2020 in Kosovo, had pleaded not responsible on all counts.
Presiding choose Mappie Veldt-Foglia described the decision as a “milestone for the specialist chambers,” expressing hope that it may result in “additional reconciliation amongst communities in Kosovo” sooner or later.
The bloody battle, which performed out in 1998 and 1999, noticed the Serbian army pitted towards Albanian separatists. In March 1999, NATO launched a large aerial bombardment marketing campaign towards army targets and demanding infrastructure in what was then often called the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The Western intervention ultimately led to the secession of the area from Serbia, with Kosovo declaring independence in 2008.
Whereas the US, UK and far of the EU acknowledged the breakaway area’s independence, Russia, China, India and a number of other different nations opposed the declaration.
On Thursday, Kosovo formally utilized to affix the European Union.
The Kosovo Specialist Chambers’ determination got here at a time of heightened tensions between Serbia and Kosovo, with Belgrade accusing Pristina of discriminating towards the Serbian ethnic minority within the breakaway area.
Up till this date, the vast majority of politicians and army commanders prosecuted over battle crimes in the course of the Kosovo battle and previous conflicts in former Yugoslavia have predominantly been ethnic Serbs.
Some of the distinguished convicts was the previous president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, who died in his jail cell in The Hague earlier than the Worldwide Legal Tribunal for the previous Yugoslavia (ICTY) may ship its verdict.
Former Kosovo president Hashim Thaci, together with three former KLA militants, is presently awaiting trial on the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. Pre-trial choose Nicolas Guillou revealed in early November that he anticipated the method to kick off by the top of the yr.