News 28 Jan 13

Yugoslav Army General Admits Kosovo War Crimes

Yugoslav Army general Dragoljub Ojdanic confessed that he committed war crimes against Kosovo Albanians in the late 1990s and withdrew his appeal against his Hague conviction.

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade

“I fully accept all of the findings made in the judgment [against me]. All that remains is for me to serve out my sentence,” said a letter signed by Ojdanic and sent to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY, on January 25.

“I express my sincere regret to all of those who suffered as a result of the conduct for which I have been convicted,” wrote Ojdanic, adding that he was 72 years old and his health had deteriorated in custody.

The general withdrew his appeal against the ICTY verdict against him in 2009, when he was found guilty of deportation and “other inhumane acts” against Kosovo Albanians.

According to the verdict, the general “knew of the campaign of terror, violence and forcible displacement being carried out by VJ [Yugoslav Army] and Serbian ministry of internal affairs forces against Kosovo Albanians, but he refrained from taking effective measures at his disposal”.

He was charged in 1999 together with former Serbian President Milan Milutinovic, former Yugoslav deputy prime minister Nikola Sainovic, former Yugoslav Army commander Nebojsa Pavkovic, former chief of staff of the army’s Pristina corps Vladimir Lazarevic, and former head of the Serbian interior ministry for Kosovo, Sreten Lukic.

Armed conflict between Yugoslav forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army continued from 1998 to 1999 before NATO intervened militarily in an attempt to end the violence.

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Background

Timeline – Cuska Case

Timeline of events in the case against 13 former Serb fighters charged with committing war crimes in the villages of Cuska, Zahac, Ljubenic and Pavlac in Kosovo in 1999.

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