News 19 Jul 13

Kosovo Hit-Man Jailed for Killing ‘Collaborator’

Former assassin Nazim Bllaca was jailed for four and a half years for murdering a man who was suspected of collaborating with the Serbian authorities during the Kosovo war.

Edona Peci

The court in Pristina on Friday found Bllaca guilty of the aggravated murder of Ibush Kllokoqi in the Kosovo capital in August 1999.

Nazim Bllaca / Photo: BIRN

Bllaca, who has previously confessed to working as a political assassin, had pleaded guilty to killing Kllokoqi in a revenge killing over the victim’s alleged collaboration with the Serbs.

Bllaca claims to have been part of an unofficial security service that grew out of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

He has been the key witness in two trials over wartime revenge killings which have seen seven people sent to prison.

The second verdict in December last year saw five people sentenced to a total of 54 years in jail.

Two of the defendants were convicted of involvement in the 1999 murder of Kllokoqi.

Mariola Pasnik, the EU rule-of-law mission’s presiding  judge in the case, said that Bllaca deserved a relatively short sentence because “from 2009, he has shown his deep remorse several times; the injured party was asked for forgiveness and his testimony about the murder of Kllokoqi in other cases contributed to the conviction of at least three other people”.

“The punishment of four years and six months is appropriate to the gravity of the offence and the behaviour of the person convicted,” she said.

Bllaca will only serve three and a half years of his sentence because he spent a year under house arrest between November 2009 and November 2010.

However, Bllaca’s defence announced that it would appeal for his jail time to be reduced even further because of the time that he spent as a witness under close protection from December 2010 to the present day.

“This was the time that I contributed most and my movements were limited,” Bllaca said after the verdict.

The verdict can be appealed over the next 15 days.

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