On June 22, after a two-year long trial, Kosovo’s Prizren Court sentenced former Yugoslav police reserve member Darko Tasic to 22 years in prison for committing war crimes against Albanian civilians in the village of Krusha e Vogël.
Tasic was charged by Kosovo’s Special Prosecution of burning and throwing bodies in the Drin river following the massacre, as well as participating in confiscation, robbery, and destruction of property, specifically burning houses, during the period of March 15-26, 1999.
On March 26, Serbian paramilitary forces rounded up the Albanian boys and men of the Krusha e Vogel village inside a house and executed them. They subsequently set the house on fire to destroy evidence of the murders. The women and children were forced out of the village. 113 people were killed, the remains of 68 of them yet to be found.
21 years later, Darko Tasic is the only person to be tried by a Kosovo court for any of the crimes committed in Krusha e Vogel.
On Monday, Krusha e Vogel residents, mostly women, awaited the final verdict outside the courthouse, holding up pictures of their killed relatives. Many were hoping for a life sentence.
Bajram Zylfiu, one of the few survivors of the massacre, claimed relief, but also felt that Tasic could have gotten a longer sentence. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) War Veterans Organization also found the sentence too short.