From: Die Morina van Uijtregt
Victims’ Families Request Retrial of Serb Ex-Fighter after Kosovo Court Halved His Sentence

Representatives of the villages of Krusha e Madhe and Krusha e Vogel requested a retrial for the case of Serbian ex-police officer Darko Tasic, after the court halved the prison sentence against him.

Tasic was sentenced to 22 years in prison over the massacre of Albanian civilians in Krusha e Vogel in March 1999.

But last week, the Court of Appeals in Kosovo decided to cut the sentence to 11 years “in which the time spent in detention on remand was also calculated”.

Representatives from two villages presented their request on Friday during a meeting with the parliamentary committee for Human Rights, Gender Equality, Missing Persons and Petitions.

The head of Krusha e Madhe village, Selami Hoti has requested for each association of relatives of the missing persons from the war to have lawyers, as he said it is “the only way to bring criminals to jail”.

“Only in Krusha e Madhe 241 citizens were massacred. Many children were left orphans from this massacre and criminals were never handcuffed,” Hoti said, reported the news agency Kosova Press.

Gani Zylfiu, the head of Krusha e Vogel village said that they were said that they were disappointed with the reduction of the sentence by the Court of Appeals for Darko Tasic.

“I am one of those witnesses of the crime committed by Darko Tasic. Our disappointment with the reduced sentence is big. A murder is being sentenced to 20 years, while the Court of Appeals brought a [sentence for] criminal to 11 years. I am convinced that after a few years he will be released,” Zylfiu said.

Kosovo’s Ombudsman Naim Qelaj said that there was lack of a comprehensive policy to investigate such cases.

While the deputy chair of the parliamentary committee Besa Ismajli said that regarding the request for this case to be returned for retrial, they will invite the chairman of the Kosovo Judicial Council to report.

109 Albanian men, aged 13-72 were machine-gunned by Serbian forces in Krusha e Vogel during the war in Kosovo. Twenty of them managed to escape.

Tasic was accused of burning dead bodies and disposing of them in a nearby river. He is also accused of robbing and burning the properties.

During the trial against Tasic, witnesses testified that they have seen him and his father carrying the corpses in an orange truck, setting it on fire and pushing it into the Drini River.