U.N. Court Indicts 4 Kosovo Albanians
Wednesday, February 19, 2003; Page A30
BELGRADE, Feb. 18 -- The U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague today disclosed its first indictments of Kosovo Albanians for alleged atrocities during the 1998-99 war against Serb forces.
Fatmir Limaj, a Kosovo legislator, is the highest-ranking of the suspects, all former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the ethnic Albanian militia that battled then-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's Serb forces.
The four are accused of atrocities, including torture and murder, against Serb and Albanian civilians in a KLA prison camp in mid-1998.
Many Serbs regard the court as biased against them and willing to overlook crimes committed by their ethnic Albanian adversaries during the Kosovo war. The court has denied these claims.
The NATO-led Kosovo peacekeeping force, known as KFOR, said Monday that it had detained three of the suspects, Haradin Bala, Isak Musliu and Agim Murtezi. But Limaj, an ally of ex-Kosovo Albanian rebel chief Hashim Thaqi, left Kosovo without being detained.
A spokeswoman for the U.N.'s chief war crimes prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, said Limaj was arrested later "in a state of the former Yugoslavia."
Del Ponte criticized KFOR for letting Limaj leave Kosovo on Friday despite having a warrant for his arrest. A spokesman for KFOR declined to comment.
The indictment said KLA forces under Limaj's command held at least 35 Serb and ethnic Albanian civilians in the Lapusnik prison camp "under conditions that were brutal and inhumane." The forces beat, tortured and murdered a number of detainees, it added.
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