Kosovo war crimes going unpunished 10 years later: rights group

[JURIST] Many human rights abuses that occurred during the war in Kosovo [USDOS backgrounder] have gone uninvestigated and unpunished, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website], told [DW report] Deutsche Welle [media website] Wednesday, which was the 10-year anniversary of the conflict's end. An AI report [text, PDF] released earlier this week found that, as of April, nearly 2,000 people remain unaccounted for from the conflict. AI said:


Ten years after the end of the war in Kosovo impunity for enforced disappearances and abductions remains one of the most serious violations of human rights arising from the armed conflict and its aftermath. Enforced disappearances constitute a crime and, in certain circumstances defined in international law, a crime against humanity or a war crime.

AI places the responsibility for the lack of investigation on the Serbian government, the UN Mission in Kosovo, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official websites]. The report called for the governments of Kosovo and Serbia, as well as the international community, to attempt to identify remains and grave sites of victims and to ensure thorough and impartial investigations of the crimes. On Thursday NATO announced it would begin withdrawing troops [AFP report] from Kosovo, with plans to go from nearly 14,000 troops currently there to 10,000 by January.

Prosecutors have secured several convictions for conduct during the war. In April, four Serbian former police officers were convicted [JURIST report] of killing 48 Albanian civilians during the conflict. In October, former policeman Vaso Todorovic was convicted of crimes against humanity [JURIST report] for the capture and detention of 40,000 Bosnian Muslims in 1995. Earlier that month, four Bosnian Serbs were arrested for the killing [JURIST report] of 200 civilians in Koricanske Stijene. In 2006, former parliamentary leader Momcilo Krajisnik was sentenced to 27 years in prison [JURIST report] for the forced transfer, deportation, and persecution of non-Serbs. His sentence was later reduced to 20 years [JURIST report].


 

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