Montenegrin citizen Vlado Zmajevic, suspected of killing of at least six Albanian civilians in village Zhegra, Kosovo in 1999, will go again on trial for war crimes in September.
Zhegra is the village where Swiss Albanian footballer Xhardan Shaqiri was born, forced to emigrate to Switzerland in 1992 with his parents and three siblings due to Serbian persecutions and occupation.
The trial which started last year in May was the first war crime trial in Montenegro in several years; the country’s judiciary has tried only six cases so far, which all concluded by 2013, the majority ending in acquittals.
Zmajevic, who was part of Yugoslav Army forces fighting in Kosovo in 1998 and 1999, was arrested by Montenegrin police in August 2016 in the town of Niksic.
Zmajevic is charged with having committed crimes against the civilian population.
According to the Humanitarian Law Centre in Kosovo, Zmajevic is a key suspect in a crime committed by Serbian paramilitaries in the Kosovo village of Zhegra in March 1999.
He was one in the group of seven fighters allegedly involved in the killings of Kosovo Albanians in Zhegra, the director of the Humanitarian Law Centre, Bekim Blakaj, said on Thursday.
“Based on the testimony of eyewitnesses, on March 29, 1999, eight buses with obviously army volunteers came to the village and killed six people,” Blakaj told Radio Free Europe.
“Of course, they were all civilians, of Albanian ethnicity, including old men and women. What we know so far is that there were two women and four men,” he said.
After the war in Kosovo ended in 1999, he was arrested, prosecuted by the army and sentenced to 20 years in prison for the crimes in Zhegra. However he did not serve the sentence; the reasons for this are unknown.
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