PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — An ethnic Serb was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Kosovo on Tuesday after being convicted of war crimes, including involvement in a massacre during the 1998-1999 war.
The court in Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, handed down the ruling against the man, who was arrested in 2019 and was identified only by his initials G.S.
On April 15-16, 1999, Serb army, police and paramilitary forces attacked the villages of Sllovi and Terbovc of the Lipjan commune, 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of Pristina and G.S. was part of the Serb paramilitary troops.
G.S. was among those who executed 12 Albanian men in three separate cases after forcefully entering their houses and pushing women and children away.
In one case, they forced the wife and daughter of one of the executed Albanians to watch the killing. In other instances, they shot ethnic Albanians inside their courtyards or while they were moving away to hide in the nearby mountains.
“With these crimes he has committed war crimes against the population in cooperation with others,” said the verdict.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether G.S. has appealed the verdict.
There were many massacres of Kosovar Albanians during the war between their pro-independence fighters and the forces of then Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic.
Kosovo was a Serb province until a 1998-1999 insurrection by ethnic Albanian rebels sparked a bloody Serbian crackdown. That pushed NATO to carry out a 78-day bombing campaign to force Serbian troops out of Kosovo. The war left more than 10,000 people dead.
Kosovo declared independence in 2008. but Serbia hasn’t recognized it.