Suva Reka massacre
|Suva Reka massacre|
|Location||Suva Reka, Kosovo, FR Yugoslavia|
|Date||26 March 1999 (Central European Time)|
|Target||Members of the Berisha family|
|Perpetrators||Serbian Law Enforcement|
The Suva Reka massacre (Albanian: Masakra e Suharekës, Serbian: Masakr u Suvoj Reci) refers to the mass murder of Kosovo Albanian civilians committed by Serbian police-officers on 26 March 1999 in Suva Reka, Kosovo, during the 1999 NATO bombings of Yugoslavia.
There were 50 victims of the Suva Reka massacre — among them many children — 49 of them members of the Berisha family.[dead link][dead link] The victims were locked inside a pizzeria into which two hand grenades were thrown. Before taking the bodies out of the pizzeria, the police allegedly shot anyone still showing signs of life. The bodies of the victims were later transported to Serbia and buried in mass graves near a police facility at Batajnica, near Belgrade.
The investigation into the Suva Reka massacre started three years after the mass graves in Serbia had been discovered. More than 100 witnesses were questioned during the trial, including Shureta Berisha, who survived the crime by jumping out of the truck that was transporting the corpses. Serbia's War Crimes prosecutor has charged eight policemen for the massacre, including members of the 37th SPU of the Serbian MUP. Key witnesses of the Office of the Prosecutor are former police members who are able to describe in detail the murder of Albanian civilians and the removal of their bodies from Suva Reka.
After a three-year trial, a War Crimes court found four former policemen guilty of the massacre and sentenced two of them to a maximum of 20 years in jail, one to 15 years and another to 13 years. However, the Serbian War Crimes prosecutors said that they would appeal the verdicts, especially because the prime suspect — the commander of the unit that carried out the massacre — was acquitted. Suva Reka is the first war crimes case in Serbia related to the mass graves discovered after Slobodan Milošević's ouster.
- Aleksandar Roknić (24 Apr 2009). "Four Serb Policemen Jailed for Suva Reka Massacre". Institute for War & Peace Reporting. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
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