Belgrade's Special Court held a preliminary hearing on Monday in a new trial for nine Albanian men accused of war crimes against civilians in Kosovo in 1999.
The court had ruled on January 21 last year on events in the Gnjilane area of eastern Kosovo and sentenced the nine former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to a total of 101 years in prison.
But the Serbian Appellate Court quashed the judgment on December 7 last year and sent the case back to the court for a new trial.
The indictment accuses Agush Memishi, Samet Hajdari, Faton Hajdari, Ahmet Hasani, Nazif Hasani, Burim Fazliju, Ferat Hajdari, Kamber Sahiti and Selimon Sadiku of unlawful imprisonment, torture, rape, intimidation, terror and plunder targeting Serb and other non-Albanian civilians in the Gnjilane area of Kosovo in 1999.
According to the allegations, from the beginning of June until December 1999, 80 people were tortured and killed while a further 153 were tortured and released. Thirty-four people remain missing.
But Fazlija Ajdari, Rexheb Alija, Shaqir Shaqiri, Shefket Musliji, Sadik Aliji, Idriz Aliji, Shemsi Nuhiu, Ramadan Halimi remain at large and have been prosecuted in their absence.
Serbian police arrested the defendants in 2008 in Presevo, a town in southern Serbia near Kosovo with a majority Albanian population.
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