Serbian officials react to prosecutor's report

BELGRADE -- Government's Kosovo Office head Marko Đurić says Serbia "welcomes any activity that leads to uncovering of war crimes and their perpetrators."

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

He made the statement on Tuesday after an EU special team announced that they found no evidence hundreds of Serbs from Kosovo were kidnapped to have their organs removed, and added that the country "can be satisfied only when there are final verdicts that will bring to justice those who committed crimes in Kosovo."

According to him, a lack of progress on these issues is "in nobody's interest - not for Serbs nor Albanians nor the international community" while "we can be satisfied only once final judgments are passed."

"Serbia welcomes any activity that leads to the discovery responsible for the monstrous crimes, in which, as can be seen from Williamson's report, people from the top of the KLA were involved," said Đurić.

"Too much time has passed, and still there's no justice for the victims nor the calming of inter-ethnic relations in Kosovo. 15 years is too long, but war crimes do not fall under the statute of limitations and we believe that those responsible for the most brutal and the most monstrous crimes in the former Yugoslavia, and they unfortunately happened in Kosovo and Metohija as well, must be brought to justice."

Asked to comment on Williamson's claim that a handful of people were involved in the organ trafficking Đurić said that "legal qualifications should be discussed by relevant judicial authorities, but there is no doubt that in Kosovo there was widespread, systematic and ethnically motivated persecution of Serb and non-Albanian population and this truth that remains inscribed in the tragic history of this region."

"We need people who are responsible, for the sake of healing our society and relations in the province and in the region, to be brought to justice. War crimes do not expire and we will never give up the fight for truth and accountability," Đurić said.

Chairman of the Serbian Parliament Committee on Kosovo and Metohija Milovan Drecun reacted on Tuesday by saying that the report went "half way" as a result of "political compromise".

This MP from the ranks of the ruling SNS party also raised the issue of the responsibility of Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukčević.

"It seems to me that the report was a consequence of political compromise because of the undeniable responsibility of Hashim Thaci in the organ trafficking chain, so the selective approach to the crimes and the victims continues," Drecun told reporters.

He added was it was "positive that the KLA is suspected of ethnic cleansing and crimes against Serbs" - but that "the conclusion that there was insufficient evidence for organ trafficking is not satisfactory."

Organ trafficking, he added, is "the most serious crime, but someone does not want to see it."

Drecun said that his impression was that Williamson "could not resist political pressure" and that his investigation should have been complete and comprehensive, "because there was enough evidence."

"The question of the responsibility of our prosecution has to be raised, as they claims to be doing everything but obviously have no results in determining the crimes," said Drecun.

Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukčević also reacted on Tuesday after the publishing of Clint Williamson's statement, to say it represented "satisfaction for the victims and great contribution to international justice," and also, "a crowning achievement" on top of the many years of work done by the Serbian prosecution on the case.

An association gathering the families of the Serb victims said they were dissatisfied with the report.