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Case name

Gnjilane Group (AA et al.)

Case number

КТRZ 16/08

Number of victims


Persons indicted


Rank(s) of person(s) indicted

Defendants' ranks:
Middle military (AA)
Lower military (all others)

Indictment date

Case stage

finally resolved

Duration of proceedings since trial commencement

5 years 3 months

Witnesses examined


Date and outcome of the first instance verdict

First-instance judgment / years in prison:
EE, LL, NN: 15 each
ŽŽ, II, JJ, NjNJ: 10 each
LjLj, MM: 8 each

Date and outcome of decision on appeal

Decision on appeal: First instance judgment abolished, case remanded for new trial

Date and outcome of verdict in new trial

Judgment upon repeated proceedings / years in prison:
LL: 15
II, JJ: 13 each
NjNj: 12
EE, NN, ŽŽ: 10 each
DD, LjLj, MM: 8 each
GG: 5
AA, BB, VV, ĐĐ, ZZ, KK (trial in absentia): acquitted of charges

Criminal offence

war crime against civilian population under art. 142 (1) re art. 22 (co-perpetration) of the FRY Criminal Act

Background facts

Charges against the 17 accused - ethnic Albanians from the Preševo/Bujanovac area and former soldiers of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) - included the killing of 80 civilians and unlawful arrests of an undetermined number of victims who were then subjected to torture, maltreatment or rape. The victims were mostly Serbs, as well as some Roma and Albanian civilians suspected of being disloyal to the KLA. The crimes were allegedly committed in the period from mid-June to the end of 1999, in the so-called KLA Karadak operational zone in Kosovo (municipalities Gnjilane, Vitina, Kosovska Kamenica and Novo Brdo).

Procedural remarks

The initial indictment included 17 accused individuals. Proceedings against eight of them were suspended due to their unavailability to the Serbian authorities; two were arrested prior to new trial; the remaining seven were tried in absentia for the first time in the course of repeated proceedings, and they were acquitted of all charges. Following the trial completion, on 5 December 2014, the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC) adopted the Prosecutor's request for the protection of legality. The SCC found that the Higher and Appellate Courts' decisions were in breach of essential provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code. However, this SCC finding had no effect on the case outcome, given that decisions upon requests for the protection of legality may not prejudice the accused persons' interests.