Bytyqi murder case remains unresolved

The unresolved murder of the Bytyqi brothers is an obstacle in relations between Serbia and the U.S.

Source: B92
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They were U.S. citizens whose bodies were found in a mass grave in Petrovo Selo.

So far, no government has managed to identify and punish the perpetrators of the murder of the Bytyqi brothers, and the current government announces the solving of this problem.

Speaking for TV B92 Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said that one of the foreign policy priorities is better relations with the United States. As one of the two obstacles he cited the unsolved Bytyqi case.

"When people hear the Albanian name they say, so they killed some Albanians. We killed Albanians who came to save a Serb who pleaded with them to get him to the territory of central Serbia. We put them in jail for 14 days because they did not have a visa for Serbia. And then we, instead of letting them go back, took and killed them. So, that was 17 years ago. And all three were U.S. citizens. This is our problem in relations with the Americans and this problem is for us to solve," said Vucic.

"The case of the Bytyqi brothers, like all others where Albanians were killed and then buried in Serbia during the dark period of war, it is a great stain on the state of Serbia, in particular the police and military authorities," says editor of the weekly Vreme Filip Svarm. He recalls that no war crime becomes obsolete, and that the same goes for the case of the Bytyqi brothers.

"Probably there is a number of people who buried and hid in every way they can the evidence of their involvement, and it seems that these links are not so simple to be drawn both horizontally and vertically. I mean that in certain security structures there is very strong obstruction to these cases to be taken through to the end," says Svarm.

The Bytyqi brothers in 1999 came to Kosovo to fight as members of the KLA. They were arrested when they entered central Serbia, and were later released from prison, and then killed. The Humanitarian Law Center (FHP) NGO reminds that the Bytyqi family since the fall of Slobodan Milosevic to this day every year received strong and convincing promises of state authorities that the case will be solved.

"In a country where there is no climate that encourages witnesses of war crimes to come before the institutions and testify about war crimes, therefore, that in such a climate, especially in a case like this one where the key player in the story about the murder of the Bytyqi brothers is under political protection the most powerful man in the state, therefore practically the investigation in such a case will stand still until that political protection is removed," says Sandra Orlovic of the FHP.

No one has yet been convicted for the murder of the Bytyqi brothers. Two policemen, Sreten Popovic and Milos Stojanovic, were acquitted of charges of the murder.

Crime

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