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Kosovo arrests man accused of war crimes in 1999 fighting

June 27, 2022 GMT

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo prosecutors on Monday charged a man with war crimes for allegedly being part of a group of Serbian forces that executed at least nine ethnic Albanian civilians during the country’s 1998-1999 war.

Prosecutors said in a statement that the suspect, identified only as M.D., a local resident of Montenegrin origin, was arrested Monday in the village of Vitomirice, Peja commune, 85 kilometers (50 miles) west of the capital Pristina.

They said he is suspected of having been among the Serb army, police and paramilitary forces who on May 5, 1999 held an offensive in the region during which nine people were executed and another five are still officially listed as missing.

More than 13,000 people, mostly ethnic Albanians, died during fighting in 1998-1999 between Kosovo ethnic Albanian separatists to break away from Serbia, and Serbian forces. About 1 million people were driven from their homes before a NATO bombing campaign forced Serbia to pull its troops out of its former province of Kosovo and to cede control to the United Nations and NATO.

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. The United States and most of the West recognize Kosovo’s independence, but Serbia — supported by allies Russia and China — does not.