Families of civilians killed in Podujevo filed a compensation lawsuit against Serbia

Family members of 14 civilians executed by members of the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) reserve unit “Scorpions” in Podujevo/Podujeve on March 28, 1999, filed a compensation lawsuit against the Republic of Serbia for the murder of their loved ones. On behalf of the 24 family members the compensation lawsuit was filed by the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) on January 24, 2007.

In the morning hours of March 28, 1999, “Scorpions” unit members took out 20 Albanians, women, children, and the elderly, from the house of the Bogujevci/Bogujevci family where they were all staying and ordered them to go to the courtyard of the house of Haljim Gaši/Halim Gashi. According to eyewitnesses’ accounts, the children who survived the massacre, as soon as he entered the courtyard, an unknown member of the “Scorpions” unit fired at Šefkete Bogujevci/Shefkate Bogujevci. When they realized that their mother was shot, her children Fatos, Jehona, Ljirije, and Genc Bogujevci ran over to her. At that moment, several “Scorpions” opened fire and started shooting at them and at all other civilians in the courtyard.

The following persons lost their lives in the Podujevo crime: Aljbion Durići/Albion Duriqi (2 years), Mimoza Durići/Mimoza Duriqi (4 years), Arber Durići/Arber Duriqi (7 years), Dafina Durići/Dafina Duriqi (9 years), Špetim Bogujevci/Shpetim Bogujevci (10 years), Špend Bogujevci/Shpend Bogujevci (13 years), Nora Bogujevic/Nora Bogujevci (14 years), Fezdrije Lugaljiju/Fezdrije Llugaliju (21 years), Fitnete Durići/Fitnete Duriqi (36 years), Salja Bogujevci/Sala Bogujevci (39 years), Shefkate Bogujevci (42 years), Nefise Lugaljiju/Nefise Llugaliju (55 years), Šehide Bogujevci/Shehide Bogujevci (67 years), Esma Durići/Esma Duriqi (69 years), while Genc Bogujevci/Genc Bogujevci (6 years), Ljirije Bogujevci/Lirije Bogujevci (9 years), Jehona Bogujevci/Jehona Bogujevci (11 years), Fatos Bogujevci/Fatos Bogujevci (13 years), and Saranda Bogujevci/Saranda Bogujevci, (14 years) sustained serious injuries.

In June 2005, Saša Cvjetan was found guilty of this crime and convicted to 25 years in prison by the War Crimes Trial Chamber of the District Court of Belgrade. The Supreme Court of the Republic of Serbia confirmed the District Court decision, which made it legally binding. Other perpetrators of this crime, although identified, are still at large.

HLC calls upon the government of Serbia to accept recommendations laid out in the UN Security Council Resolution of December 16, 2005 and by acting in accordance with their obligations with respect to domestic and international laws, provide reparations to victims of actions or failure to act which can be attributed to the state and which constitute gross violations of international human rights law or serious violations of international humanitarian law. By doing so, the state will demonstrate its responsibility and restore dignity to the victims of the crime and their family members.