Serb court jails two policemen for Kosovo murders

BELGRADE, Jul 20, 2000 -- (Reuters) A Serb court sentenced two policemen on Wednesday for murdering Kosovo Albanians during the NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia last year, independent news agency Beta reported.

Boban Petkovic was sentenced to four years and 10 months in prison for killing two men and one woman near Velika Hoca and Orahovac in southwest Kosovo, Beta said. Djordje Simic was sentenced to one year for aiding and abetting him.

The independent Humanitarian Law Center said it believed these were the first sentences passed against Serb policemen for crimes committed during the bombing.

Petkovic was charged with killing Ismail Dirguti during the course of operations on May 9. Petkovic was said to have chased Dirguti and brought him down before shooting him in the head with a pistol he had taken from Simic.

After returning to nearby Orahovac, Petkovic shot Sezair Miftari and his wife Sefkija Miftari on their doorstep with an automatic rifle, the charge sheet says.

The sentences were passed by the Prizren court which has relocated to Pozarevac in Serbia since Yugoslav forces withdrew from the province in June last year following the 78-day NATO air campaign.

NATO mounted its March-June air war on Yugoslavia over its repression of the majority ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo.

Three members of a paramilitary group, arrested last year for spying for a foreign intelligence service, are also accused of murdering two unidentified ethnic Albanians at a military detention camp in Kosovo in mid-May. Their trial continues.

Original article