Case on which depend relations between U.S. and Serbia

The Bytyqi brothers case will be one of the more important topics when U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden and Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic meet in June.

Source: B92

The case in which members of the Serbian police in 1999 killed three U.S. citizens of Albanian origin is one of the obstacles in relations between Serbia and the U.S.

On Thursday, a new resolution was introduced in the U.S. Congress in order to emphasize that the achievement of justice in the case is the main factor of improving relations between the two countries.

The resolution's wording is virtually identical to the one from 2013, and very important is its timing - it was initiated a few days before the first official visit Vucic to the United States.

The Chicago-born brothers Ylli, Agron and Mehmet Bytyqi traveled to Kosovo in April 1999 and joined the so-called Atlantic Brigade of the KLA. They were arrested in central Serbia, released, and later killed, and nobody has been held accountable for their deaths.

As stated in the first resolution, the government of Serbia and the competent authorities are required to resolve this case as a priority, the United States will devote resources to "assist and monitor" Serbia's efforts and progress or its absence, adding that this should remain an important factor in determining the further development of relations between the U.S. and the Republic of Serbia.

Such stance was repeated recently by U.S. Congressman Lee Zeldin, who stated that his office worked closely with the Bytyqi family.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Fatos Bytyqi said he was "frustrated by the fact that Serbian political leadership protects suspects in high offices."

"This resolution sends a clear message about the determination of the United States. Prime Minister Vucic will have to answer why he did nothing as well as about his close relationship with Goran Radosavljevic Guri during his visit to Washington," Bytyqi said.

Vucic commented on this case on Friday, when he confirmed that Veran Matic, who chairs a commission set up by the government to investigate murders of journalists, will also be involved in solving this case.

He said that Matic, among other things, showed initiative in solving the cases of the murder of journalist Slavko Curuvija.

"It is not realistic for the case to be resolved by my trip to the U.S., but it would be good to get the case solved," said Vucic.

The film below was produced in 2006 by B92. It is an award-winning documentary entitled, "Crime and secret - the Bytyqi brothers"


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