A Budapest court on Monday issued a temporary extradition warrant for a Serbian man suspected of killing 33 Kosovo Albanians 23 years ago.
Acting on a request by a Pristina court, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Kosovo issued an international arrest warrant in September 2021, with a view to conducting criminal proceedings for war crimes committed against the civilian population in connection with the shooting of civilians in 1999.
According to the available information, the Serbian man and his two accomplices are suspected of having participated in or assisted in the killing of civilians in the Kristal settlement of Peja (Peć) in 1999. A total of thirty-three people lost their lives in the killings.
The war in Kosovo began in 1998, when the Kosovo Liberation Army (UÇK) launched a guerrilla war against Serbian police and military units. Their aim was to win Kosovo’s independence. In response, Serbian President Slobodan Milošević set his sights on the mass expulsion of Albanians.
On 24 March 1999, NATO launched air strikes against Little Yugoslavia, destroying much of the country’s infrastructure and killing hundreds of civilians in a campaign that lasted more than two months. Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence on 17 February 2008, which is now recognised by 117 UN member states.
Life imprisonment is the maximum possible sentence for the man’s suspected crime.
The Serbian has not consented to his extradition.