ISSN 2330-717X

US Congressmen Press Serbia’s Vucic Over Bytyqi Murders


By Filip Rudic

A bipartisan delegation from the US House of Representatives and Senate spoke to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, urging him to take action to resolve the murders in 1999 of Ylli, Agron and Mehmet Bytyqi.

“While Serbian authorities have investigated the deaths of the brothers, there have been no charges brought against those responsible for these murders despite the identification of both evidence and suspects,” congressman Lee Zeldin said in a statement on Sunday.

According to the statement on Zeldin’s website, the delegation also included senator Roger Wicker, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, and “a bipartisan delegation of Republican and Democrat members of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate”.

Serbian media reported on Monday that the Congressmen demanded the arrest of Goran Radosavljevic, alias Guri, who was the commander of a police training centre where the Bytyqi brothers’ bodies were eventually found. However this was not mentioned in Zeldin’s statement.

The Bytyqi family believes that Radosavljevic is the main suspect in the case.

In July 1999, Ylli, Agron and Mehmet Bytyqi – all US citizens of Albanian origin – were captured by the Serbian police on the border with Kosovo after the war ended while helping a Roma family to escape Kosovo.

Their bodies were later found in a mass grave at a police training centre in Petrovo Selo in eastern Serbia. Serbian and US authorities opened separate investigations into the case in the spring of 2002.

Radosavljevic, who now runs several security companies in Belgrade and is a senior official of the ruling Progressive Party, was briefly investigated over the crime by the Serbian prosecution, but never indicted.

In December 2018 the US government banned Radosavljevic from entering the country because of his alleged involvement in human rights violations in the Kosovo war.

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The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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