A member of a Serbian paramilitary group alleged to have committed war crimes in Kosovo has been arrested in Montenegro. Milojko Nikolic, nicknamed Sumadija, belonged to the paramilitary Sakali (Jackal) unit which is accused of atrocities committed against ethnic Albanian civilians during the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict.
Nikolic, who is suspected of having committed war crimes against civilians, was arrested at the request of Serbian war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic. It is expected that Nikolic will be extradited in accordance with an extradition treaty signed between Belgrade and Podgotica in October.
The Sakali are accused of having killed at least 43 civilians in the village of Cuska, near the western Kosovo town of Pec, on May 14, 1999.
According to the indictment, the defendants committed murders, rapes and robberies in an “extremely brutal” way, with “the main aim of spreading fear among Albanian civilians in order to force them to leave their homes and flee to Albania.”
Seven members of the Sakali have been arrested and are on trial in Serbia. Six more people, still at large, are suspected of the same crime and international arrest warrants have been issued for them by Interpol.
It seems that Serbian justice is gradually, very gradually, beginning to investigate, and more importantly prosecute, crimes committed during the conflicts in Kosovo and in Bosnia.
Could this be because finally the realisation has dawned that European Union membership depends on this happening?
However, the real proof of that would be the arrest of Ratko Mladic.