Serbian War Crimes Court Sentences Kosovo Albanian for Atrocities against Roma

18 May 2007

According to the online news source of 18 September 2006, Serbia's war crimes court convicted Mr Anton Lekaj, an ethnic Albanian rebel fighter, of atrocities against Kosovo Roma in 1999 and sentenced him to thirteen years in prison.

Mr Lekaj, a former member of the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), was convicted of war crimes against Kosovo civilians, including torture, rape and murder. Mr Lekaj ambushed a convoy of Roma in Kosovo on 12 June 1999. Passengers from the convoy were abducted and "tortured and sexually molested with extreme cruelty". The ruling named four of the abducted, who allegedly were later executed by Lekaj and his fellow rebels.

Mr Lekaj was arrested during a car theft in August 2004 in Montenegro; Montenegrin authorities later extradited him to Serbia. The sentencing is the first against an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo on charges stemming from the 1998/99 war delivered by a Serbian court.



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