Still no justice for 14 Serb farmers murdered in Kosovo

The families of 14 Serb farmers shot and killed in Kosovo 13 years ago are remembering their loved ones, awaiting for their killers to be brought to justice.

Source: Beta, Tanjug

The 14 Serbs were ambushed and killed as they were harvesting their fields on July 23, 1999, in the village of Staro Gacko.

The massacre happened after the war in Kosovo had ended.

The victims were on Monday remembered in a Serb Orthodox religious ceremony, and with a gathering in front of a village memorial.

The youngest of the farmers killed on the day was 17 years old. The victims were Milovan Jovanović, Jovica and Rade Živić, Andrija Odalović, Slobodan, Mile, Novica and Momir Janićijević, Stanimir and Bosko Dekić, Saša and Ljubiša Cvejić, Nikola Stojanović and Miodrag Tepsić.

Their murder was one of the most serious crimes targeting Serbs after the arrival of international forces in the province.

The families of the victims are waiting for the killers to be brought to justice.

The UN mission, UNMIK, police in 2007 arrested ethnic Albanian Mazlum Bytyqi of the Veliki Alas village near Lipljan as a suspect in the case. He was set free two months later, due to lack of evidence.

The Beta news agency reported today that international representatives in Kosovo did not respond to their queries about the status of the investigation, which was in 2011 described as "ongoing".

Last year Erhard Bueler, then commander of the NATO troops in Kosovo, KFOR, attended a liturgy on the anniversary of the murders to say that he would "do everything to solve the problem, and clear mines from the village cemetery".

The cemetery in question is located in Staro Gacko and is the final resting place of the 14 victims. Persons that the news agency described as "extremists from Veliki Alas" on several occasions desecrated the graveyard and placed mines inside its grounds.

EULEX gathering evidence

A spokesperson for the EU mission in Kosovo, EULEX, on Monday said that its prosecutors were "still working on the case" of the murder of 14 Serbs in Staro Gracko in July 1999.

EULEX prosecutors from the office of the Special Prosecutor's Office of Kosovo and police investigators are still working on the case to gather the necessary evidence, Irina Gudeljevic told Tanjug.

The spokesperson "did not give any other details", noted the news agency.

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