"1,000 Serbs killed in Kosovo since end of war"

BELGRADE -- More than 1,000 Serbs have been murdered in Kosovo since June 1999 - when the war ended and international forces were deployed in the province.

This is according to Assistant Minister for Kosovo Kruna Kaličanin, who spoke in Belgrade on Thursday.

She also noted that "almost nobody" was charged and put on trial for those crimes.

The international community, in the meanwhile, showed a tendency to "minimize" the importance of Serb victims, Kaličanin added.

These statements came a day after a Serb man was shot and killed, while two others were wounded in Kosovska Mitrovica.

Kaličanin also accused the Kosovo Albanian authorities of covering up some of the most grave crimes, such as the murders in Staro Gracko, Goraždevac, Cernica, Obilić, and near Podujevo.

Immediately after NATO deployed its forces in the province in June 1999, 14 Serb harvesters were killed in their fields in Staro Gracko. Their killers were never found, while ethnic Albanian Milazim Bitiqi was arrested, and set free six months later for alleged lack of evidence.

In May 2000, 4-year-old Miki Petrović, 60-year-old Vojin Vasić and 45-year-old Tihomir Simijonović were killed, while Petko Vasić and Zoran Stolić were seriously wounded in Cernica. Several others were also injured when their neighbor, an ethnic Albanian, attacked them with an automatic rifle as they were sitting in front of a local store. No one was held responsible for that crime.

In 2010, the EU mission in Kosovo, EULEX, dropped its investigation into the 2003 murder of two Serb teenagers in the enclave of Goraždevac. Four other children were also wounded when unknown perpetrators opened fire on them.

In the second-degree procedure against Florim Ejupi, EULEX decided to set the defendant free for lack of evidence.

Ejupi was previously found guilty and sentenced to 40 years in prison by the UN mission in Kosovo, UNMIK.

The ethnic Albanian was the only suspect held and put on trial in the case.

He was accused of planting a bomb on a road near the town of Podujevo in 2001, to activate it as a Niš Express bus was driving by.

The attack resulted in the deaths of 12 Serb passengers.