Prosecution of war crimes suspects should be obligation of states of the region

Humanitarian Law Centre of Kosovo (HLC Kosovo) and Centre for Civic Education (CCE) welcome the action of Special Police Team and Police Department of Nikšić, which acted upon orders of the Special Prosecution Office of Montenegro, during the arrest of Vlado Zmajević, suspected of crimes committed during the armed conflict in Kosovo at the end of March 1999.

According to information of regional and local media, the Special Police Team has, in cooperation with members of Police Department of Nikšić, arrested Vlado Zmajević, citizen of Nikšić, yesterday (04 August 2016), on reasonable suspicion of murder of several persons during the armed conflict in Kosovo at the end of March 1999 in the village of Žegra/Zhegër, municipality of Gnjilane/Gjilan, as a member/volunteer of 175th motorized Brigade of the Yugoslav Army (YA). Zmajević was ordered the 72 hour detention by Prosecution.

On the basis of a field research, HLC Kosovo came to testimony of witnesses who describe murders committed in Žegra/Zhegër, and documented that on 29 and 30 March 1999, among others, have perished: Shyqëri Tahiri (1956), Qamile Haziri (1944), Qazim Haziri (1936), Milazim Idrizi (1934), Miradije Ukshini (1928) and Ukshin Ukshini (1928), as well as Ymer Kadriu (1946), while keeping cattle on pasture in the village of Dunav, Municipality of Gnjilane/ Gjilan.

CCE and HLC Kosovo expressed hope that prosecutors in the region will intensify their efforts to bring to justice those suspected of war crimes, and that during the court proceedings the facts will be established and thereby at least partially achieved justice for victims. In this manner, the judicial authorities would significantly contribute to rebuilding trust and reconciliation in the region, which the Coalition for RECOM is also advocating for, whose reference organization for Montenegro and Kosovo are CCE and HLC Kosovo.

Bekim Blakaj, Executive director of HLC Kosovo
Tamara Milaš, CCE Programme associate in CCE and spokesperson of Coalition for RECOM in Montenegro