Former Serb police officers indicted over massacre: prosecutors

Monday, April 21, 2008

BELGRADE - Serbia indicted four former members of a notorious police unit for killing ethnic Albanian women and children during Kosovo's 1998-1999 war, state prosecutors said Monday.

The members of the "Scorpions" -- an elite squad set up by the regime of late president Slobodan Milosevic -- are suspected of shooting dead 14 women and children in the northern Kosovo town of Podujevo in March 1999.

The incident took place during NATO's air war against Serbian forces who were waging a brutal crackdown on Kosovo Albanians. Five children survived with serious injuries.

Serbia's war crimes prosecution named the four as Dragan Borojevic, Zeljko Djukic, Dragan Medic and Miodrag Solaja. They were arrested in the northern Serbian town of Sremska Mitrovica in October 2007.

In 2005, another former Scorpion, Sasa Cvjetan, was sentenced to 20 years in jail after being found guilty of taking part in the same atrocity.

Cvjetan was the first Serbian policeman to have been tried for war crimes committed during the war in Kosovo, which left thousands of people dead, most of them Albanians.

The Scorpions operated under the command of the Serbian interior ministry until they were disbanded in 2003 following the assassination of reformist Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic.

Another four former Scorpions were sentenced last year to up to 20 years in prison for murdering six Muslim civilians in the war-time Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995.

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04/21/2008 11:55 GMT

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