Five years after the Trial Chamber found Nikola Sainovic, Nebojsa Pavkovic, Sreten Lukic and Vladimir Lazarevic guilty of the crimes in Kosovo in 1999, the Appeals Chamber will deliver the final judgment for Kosovo four on 23 January 2014

Nikola Sainovic, Nebojsa Pavkovic, Sreten Lukic and Vladimir Lazarevic in the courtroomNikola Sainovic, Nebojsa Pavkovic, Sreten Lukic and Vladimir Lazarevic in the courtroom

The appeals judgment for Kosovo Four, former Serbian political, military and police officials who were convicted of the crimes against Kosovo Albanians in 1999, will be rendered on 23 January 2014. This will put an end to the case which started out as the Kosovo Six case five years after the Trial Chamber convicted Nikola Sainovic, Nebojsa Pavkovic, Sreten Lukic, Vladimir Lazarevic and Dragoljub Ojdanic of taking part in the joint criminal enterprise aimed at expelling Albanian civilians from Kosovo to secure permanent Serb control over the province.

The Trial Chamber sentenced Sainovic, Pavkovic and Lukic to 22 years in prison each, while Vladimir Lazarevic got 15 years in prison. Dragoljub Ojdanic was also sentenced to 15 years. Ojdanic first appealed against the trial judgment and then changed his mind in January 2013, withdrawing his appeal and acknowledging the findings of the Trial Chamber. He was granted early release. Milan Milutinovic, the sixth accused, was acquitted of all the charges.

The prosecution appealed against the sentences, claiming that they ‘do not reflect the gravity of the crimes and the roles of the accused’. At the end of the appellate hearing in March 2013, the prosecution called for the ‘severest sentence provided by the Tribunal’s Statute’: life in prison. The defense called for the acquittal of the Kosovo Four, arguing that the prosecution’s demand was ‘impermissible, unethical and non-collegial’.

The final judgment in the Kosovo Four case will be handed down by the Appeals Chamber with Judge Liu Daqun presiding. The chamber also comprises Turkish judge Mehmet Guney, Judge Fausto Pocar from Italy, Arlette Ramaroson from Madagascar and Russian judge Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov.