Milosevic police chief jailed for 27 years over Kosovo massacres

The former head of Serbia's police force was jailed for 27 years yesterday for war crimes, crimes against humanity and the murders of at least 724 civilians in Kosovo 12 years ago. Dressed in dark blue suit and white shirt, Vlastimir Djordjevic remained emotionless as the presiding judge, Kevin Parker, passed sentence at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

The court was told that Djordjevic had "participated in the joint criminal enterprise" led by the then Serbian president, Slobodan Milosevic, and his closest aides. Judge Parker added that the ex-police chief, 62, intended to "change the ethnic balance of Kosovo and ensure Serbian dominance in the territory".

Djordjevic, who also served the Milosevic government as the assistant internal affairs minister, was tried for the deportation in March 1999 of more than 200,000 ethnic Albanians by Serbian police, which coincided with the start of the Nato bombing campaign against Serbia.

"The true number [of expelled] might never be known," the judge said, adding that Djordjevic did nothing to prevent the deportations of mostly civilians to neighbouring Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro. The expulsions were followed by looting, burning of villages and the killings of women, children and the elderly, the court found.

In one massacre, two days after the Nato campaign began, Serb forces herded 114 men and boys into a barn, including a disabled man whose wheelchair was used to block one of the exits. Serb forces then riddled the barn with bullets from automatic weapons before setting it alight.

In another case, 45 members of the same family were killed after they tried to hide in a café. "Police threw hand grenades inside the cafe and then opened fire on them [as they tried to escape]," Judge Parker said in his verdict.

"In the large majority of cases, the victims, including many women and children, were civilians who were unarmed and not in any way participating in any form of armed conflict."

Djordjevic was also found guilty of playing a central role in trying to conceal war crimes and atrocities perpetrated against civilians by Serb forces.

In one incident, he ordered almost 900 corpses to be moved 400km in refrigerated trucks.

The bodies were then reburied at a police training centre in Batajnica, near Belgrade, in an attempt to hide them from Western observers. The dead were unearthed and identified in 2001 after the Milosevic regime collaped.

Djordjevic evaded justice for eight years. When arrested in Montenegro in 2007 he had grown long hair and was posing as a construction worker.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
news
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£20000 - £21000 per annum: The Jenrick Group: This high quality manufacturer o...

The Jenrick Group: Electrical Maintenance Engineer

£30000 - £35000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Electrical ...

Recruitment Genius: Photo Booth Host

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company offers London's best photo booth ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers



£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'