Serbian Ex-Soldier Goes On Trial for Kosovo Killings

Former serviceman Predrag Vukovic, alias Madzo, who was arrested in Montenegro last year, appeared for the first time at Belgrade Higher Court on Friday at the trial of Yugoslav Army ex-soldiers for war crimes in Kosovo in May 1999.

According to the indictment, members of the 177th Yugoslav Army Unit entered the village of Zahac/Zahaq and the neighbouring villages of Cuska/Qushk, Pavlan and Ljubenic on May 14, 1999, killing at least 118 ethnic Albanians and forcing the rest to leave Kosovo for Albania.

One of them was Vukovic, whose name was previously not listed in the indictment, but the amended indictment charging him was read out in court on Friday.

Vukovic is accused of participating in killing and wounding ethnic Albanian civilians and burning their houses in the villages of Ljubenic and Cuska/Qushk.

He is currently in prison in Sremska Mitrovica in Serbia, where he is serving a sentence for another crime.

Vukovic was arrested in July 2018 in Montenegro, initially for illegal fishing, and gave a false name.

However, after security checks, police determined his true identity and the Montenegrin authorities discovered that he was wanted in Serbia for numerous crimes.

The ex-soldiers on trial were initially convicted in 2014 and sentenced to a total of 106 years in jail, but the Serbian appeals court reversed the verdict in 2015 and sent the case for a retrial.

BIRN investigated the killings in its documentary film 'The Unidentified', which revealed the scale of the crimes committed in the four Kosovo villages in 1999, while also uncovering the command structure of the police and army units that were involved.

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