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UNS info

01. 04. 2018.

Author: Jelena L. Petkovic ???source???: UNS

Will the AP photo made in Albania help in the investigation of the disappearance of Ljubomir Knezevic?

In January 2011, Milena Parlic saw the article on the BBC web portal published in May 2010, and supplemented by the Associated Press photo (AP).

Below the picture of men standing in the column was written the indication that they are the refugees from Kosovo, recorded in 1999 in a refugee camp near Kukes in Albania. Milena Parlic remained in shock and despair. She claims that on this picture are her brother Vladan Mladenovic and his friend Branimir Mihajlovic, who were kidnapped in 1999 in Gojbulja n the municipality of Vushtrri.

- I zoomed in the photo and I immediately recognized him. It looks like it's Albania and it's probably where he ended up. By whose order it seems we will never find out - Milena Parlic told to German based daily Vesti some time ago.

Her brother Vladan Mladenovic left on June 23, 1999 in a visit to his friend Branimir Mihajlovic in the village of Gojbulja. Two days later, along with five other Serbs, he was kidnapped and since then his tracks have been lost.

The suspect was Gani Ymeri, the KLA commander in the Vushtrri region, who was recognized and subsequently identified by the witnesses of the abduction. He was arrested in November 2001, and a lawyer representing families of victims, Stoja Djuricic, immediately demanded the extension of the investigation, suspecting that Ymeri and his group were also responsible for the disappearance of our colleague Ljubomir Knezevic, a correspondent for Politika and a journalist of "Jedinstvo”.

Djuricic marked Gani Ymeri and Gani Djelja as commanders and five more as direct perpetrators, suspecting that they were responsible for the kidnapping of 23 Serbs and Roma in the Vučitrn municipality, missing and abducted in period from December 1998 to August 2000. In a request for an extension of the investigation sent to the Mitrovica District Court, Djuricic proposed the examination of the additional witness as evidence.

However, after threatening the protected witness, the exemption of an international judge and prosecutor at the request of the defense, the investigation against Gani Ymeri Imeri was razed and he was released, although the victims identified him as abductors.

Only after that the extension of the investigation was considered, that is, the additional witnesses that Djuricic proposed were questioned. The investigation was quickly suspended.

Lawyer Djuricic died in 2002 and she is the only one who linked the kidnappings of Serbs in Vučitrn in one investigation unit. Namely, she has indicated to the UNMIK police the link between abductions and therefore requested a unified investigation in one proceeding.

As under suspicious circumstances, the investigation was suspended, so the part of the investigation documentation disappeared. By 2014, families were appealing, but prosecutors in Kosovo were not investigating the kidnapping of Serbs from Vučitrn.  When the UNMIKs Human Rights Advisory Panel requested more information, the head of the secretariat of the Basic Public Prosecutor's Office in Mitrovica informed them that Unmik international prosecutor in charge of this investigation, took the original investigative file, and that upon the completion of the case, the file was not recorded in the archives of the prosecution. It is learned that the Unmik police searched Ymeris apartment, office and vehicle and seized a large number of documents, photo and video materials, computer equipment, weapons and ammunition, but it is unclear what happened to those things. EULEX then claims that Unmik has never officially handed over the investigation to them. And, on the disappearance of journalist Ljubomir Knezevic, the EU rule of law mission, for nine years responded on the UNS questions - "no information available".

When it comes to the kidnapping of six Serbs from Gojbulja, Milena Parlic never believed that there was not enough evidence against Ymeri. She even believed that he had confessed to the kidnapping, and she expected for the investigation to find out by whose order and to whom he handed them over.

- The case can not be clearer and it's clear who took them. And an investigation can be launched, for him to recognize what he has done and to whom he has given them. A man is arrested, there are witnesses, and no crime is prosecuted. He freely walks, and we do not even know the fate of my brother. I do not know what to do next, but I will not give up. They have to bear responsibility, because in the end, the fact that they did not investigate until the end is a complicity - said Milena Parlic to the Frankfurt-based daily "Vesti".

- In this absolute chaotic period between 1999 and 2000, that is, from the end of the bombing to the establishment of UNMIK, the authority in the whole territory was carried out by the KLA, which is the period when crimes were committed. People were kidnapped, deported to Albania. You know that EULEX has opened a process that involves secret prisons, mentioning Kukes in northern Albania - said Dick Marty, the Swiss Senator, presenting in 2010 the Council of Europe report on trafficking in human organs in Kosovo.

Since then, the victims' family expects the Special War Crimes Chamber in Kosovo to file charges in the hope that it will finally find out the truth about the loved ones.

When it comes to evaluating the work of UN investigative bodies in Kosovo, this best describes the Advisory Committee's conclusion that "Umnik did not make any substantial effort to investigate the disappearance in a systematic and coordinated way and the killing of a large number of Kosovo Serbs in cases where there was an evident trail of investigation that would have led to perpetrators suspected of being members of the KLA. "The commission notes that some investigations have been suspended immediately after receiving initial information, and the inaction of Unmik police is justified by the assertion that these investigations were "not considered a priority."

The Panel also recalls the internal menomrandum dated in 2003, between the UNMIK and Justice Department, which says that in order to retain limited investigative resources, the police should focus only on investigating crimes "in which there was a high likelihood of identifying suspects ".

The Jornalists Association of Serbia did not receive a answer from the Special War Crimes Chamber whether they are going to investigate the disappearance of journalist Ljubomir Knezevic. 

The first, the second and the third investigative article about the disappearance of “Politika” journalist Ljubomir Knezevic, you can read HERE.

* Reprinting, republishing or usage parts or the entire article is permitted with mandatory source guidance

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