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13 Sep, 2010 18:23

EU pushes Serbia to self criminalize - expert

Serbia has charged nine former parliamentarians with killing 43 ethnic Albanian civilians during the Kosovo war. The move is being linked to Belgrade's attempts to join the European Union.

Misha Gavrilovic, a political expert on the Balkans, thinks this indictment is a sign of Serbia bowing to EU demands to prosecute wartime atrocities.

“The EU has put a lot of pressure on Serbia, in this particular case effectively for Serbia to self indict and to self criminalize in order to justify illegal actions that have been taken against it, including those by the EU, because 14 of the EU countries have actually been involved in what can technically certainly be called “a war of aggression” against Serbia in 1999,” he told RT.

War crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic issued an indictment for the nine members of the “Šakali” (Jackals) – a paramilitary group who fought alongside Serb forces in the Kosovo War. The men are charged with rape, robbery and the killing of 43 ethnic-Albanian civilians in the Kosovar village of Cuska in 1999, reports Deutsche-Welle.

The investigation into the case was carried out by the war crimes prosecution, in cooperation with EULEX (The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo).

The nine – Toplica Miladinović, Srećko Popović, Slaviša Kastratović, Boban Bogićević, Zvonimir Cvetković, Radoslav Brnović, Vidoje Korićanin, Veljko Korićanin and Abdulah Sokić – have been in custody since March of this year.

Citing the indictment, Serbian news outlet B92 writes that the unit members “showed extreme brutality” in Cuska. The main purpose was to spread fear among Albanian civilians and force them to leave their homes and go to Albania.

According to the broadcaster, Interpol arrest warrants have been issued for 17 more suspects.

Recently, Serbia has softened its stance on Kosovo.