UN court seeks 35 years for ex-Serb general for war crimes

14th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Serb general Vlastimir Djordjevic should be jailed for at least 35 years for the 1999 murders of hundreds of ethnic Albanians and the deportation of 800,000 others from Kosovo, a UN war crimes court said Wednesday.

"The prosecution called yesterday for a sentence ranging from 35 years to life," International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) spokeswoman Nerma Jelacic told journalists in The Hague, with the defence calling for an acquittal.

The prosecution has accused Djordjevic of taking part in a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" against Albanians in Kosovo between January and June 1999.

During the campaign, Yugoslav and Serb armies expelled one third of the Albanians living in Kosovo, according to the ICTY.

The indictment alleges that Djordjevic "willingly participated in a joint criminal enterprise whose aim was to expel the majority of the Kosovo Albanian population to ensure continued Serb control over the territory."

The 61-year-old former assistant internal affairs minister and police commander faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for deportation, murder and racial persecution.

Djordjevic was arrested in Montenegro in June 2007 after nearly four years on the run. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

He was an aide to Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president who died in March 2006 of natural causes while on trial before the same tribunal.

© 2010 AFP

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