news 14 Feb 18

Serb Policeman ‘Drew Crosses on Kosovo Albanians’ Foreheads’

Witnesses told the war crimes trial of Zoran Vukotic, a former Serb policeman, that he and another man assaulted them, stole their money and drew crosses on their foreheads in May 1999.

Die Morina, Bahrie Sadiku
The Basic Court in Mitrovica. Photo: BIRN.

Witnesses Bejt and Shurkrie Osmani told the Basic Court in Mitrovica on Tuesday that Zoran Vukotic, a former Serb reservist policeman charged with war crimes, came to their house in Vushtrri/Vucitrn with another man on May 5, 1999, hit them and took their money.

Bejt Osmani also testified that Vukotic drew a cross on his forehead.

Vukotic and the other man, Goroljub Paunovic, then took away a man called Fahredin Fazliu, the witness said.

“When Goroljub came inside… he took my ID card and 50 Deutschmarks, while that fat one [Vukotic] kept asking where my son was. When I told him that my son was in Macedonia, he took a syringe he had and drew a cross on my forehead,” he added.

He said that Vukotic hit his wife Shurkrie Osmani after she wiped off a cross he had also drawn on her forehead.

He further described how Vukotic and Goroljub took his wife’s nephew outside and asked him where the money was.

“They took 200 Deutschmarks from a woman then they came inside and took Fahredin [Fazliu] with them and told us not to go outside... then after a while, they told us that they had killed four people,” witness said.

Shurkrie Osmani told the court that the four people who were killed included Fahredin Fazliu. She also confirmed her husband’s account of the assaults by Vukotic.

According to the indictment, Serbian police reservist Vukotic beat and then killed four Kosovo Albanian civilians - Enver Rrustolli, Hamdi Fazliu, Avdulla Fazliu and Fahredin Fazliu.

The charges also allege that on May 5, 1999, Vukotic, in co-perpetration with Paunovic - both wearing Serbian uniforms and armed with knives, pistols and rifles - beat and plundered various Albanian civilians in Vushtrri/Vucitrn.

Vukotic has pleaded not guilty.

At the last hearing on Friday, witness Ajmane Ferati-Shatrolli said that she and her family were detained in a house near a police training school in Vushtrri/Vucitrn by Serb paramilitary forces, and then beaten up by Vukotic and another person on May 5, 1999.

“We went into a room, he [Vukotic] closed the door and approached a child, took him by his nose and said ‘my darling’, and I thought he liked him, but then he took a knife, licked it with his tongue and put it to this child’s neck,” the witness said.

She testified that Vukotic only freed the child when she gave him some gold accessories.

Ferati-Shatrolli said that Vukotic also took a 10-year-old child into another room and made him sing a song in Serbian.

The child’s father said the boy was made to stand on a table and sing a song called ‘Sloba’, about Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

“But the kid was small and did not know any song and he beat the kid,” the witness said.

The trial continues.

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