News 11 Feb 13

Macedonia Mass Murder Trial Hears DNA Evidence

The prosecution in the politically-charged case known as ‘Monster’ presented DNA analysis that allegedly links one of the ethnic Albanian defendants with the killings.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje
 

The prosecution at the Skopje court on Friday claimed that DNA recovered from the alleged escape vehicle belonged to one of the accused, Alil Demiri, who has been at large since the five victims were killed last April.

The police found the red Opel Omega car immediately after the killings abandoned on the roadside several kilometres from the scene of the crime near Skopje.

The prosecution says the car was used to help the defendants flee towards neighbouring Kosovo and that the mud found on the car’s tyres matched that found at the murder scene.

The killings have raised ethnic tensions in the country, which saw fighting between government forces and ethnic Albanian rebels in 2001.

Defense lawyer Naser Raufi rejected the prosecution’s evidence as inconclusive.

“I saw that there are some alleged DNA traces that match one of the defendants who is at large but that has nothing to do with the court case,” Raufi told journalists after the trial session.

He said that it was hard to prove that the vehicle that was found had anything to do with the murders and suspected the prosecution's claim that it could link the car with the crime scene.

“The vehicle has questionable ownership that is yet to be determined,” Raufi said.

The prosecution at Friday’s session also started presenting pictures taken from the murder scene as well as lists of telephone calls that the defendants made before and after the killings.

The bodies of Filip Slavkovski, Aleksandar Nakjevski, Cvetanco Acevski and Kire Trickovski, all aged between 18 and 20, were discovered on April 12 last year.

The bodies had been lined up and appeared to have been executed. The body of 45-year-old Borce Stevkovski was found a short distance away from the rest.

The prosecution has pressed terrorism charges against six people suspected of having organised and committed the murders.

Two of the defendants, Demiri and Afrim Ismailovic, are still on the run. The others, Agim Ismailovic, Fejzi Aziri, Rami Sejdi and Haki Aziri, have pleaded not guilty.

Demiri and Afrim and Agim Ismailovic are accused of committing the murders with automatic rifles, while the others allegedly provided logistical support.

According to the charges, the group wanted to provoke ethnic tensions.

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