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EU court jails Kosovo ex-guerrilla for war crimes

The European Union rule of law mission sentenced a former member of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian guerilla group to eight years in prison, finding him guilty of committing war crimes during Kosovo’s 1998-1999 conflict © Getty/AFP/File / Joe Raedle

Pristina, XKO, Aug 9 – A panel of international judges Monday sentenced a former member of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian guerrilla group to eight years in prison for war crimes committed during the 1998-1999 conflict, a court statement said.

The court panel “found the accused Xhemshit Krasniqi guilty of committing the criminal offence of war crimes against the civilian population,” the EU rule of law mission (EULEX) said in the statement.

Krasniqi was a member of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) that fought security forces loyal to the then Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

Krasniqi “was found guilty of arrest, illegal detention, violation of bodily integrity, health and torture of several witnesses and unknown civilians in the KLA camps” in Albania and Kosovo, EULEX said.

The war ended after a three-month long air campaign against Serbia by NATO and paved the way for Kosovo’s independence a decade later.

Just months after Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, the EU launched a large civilian mission to help the young country improve its rule of law.

EULEX’s mostly European judges and prosecutors can take over court cases that the local judiciary cannot handle due to their sensitivity.

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