Vlastimir Djordjevic, former chief of the Serbian MUP Public Security Sector, will tomorrow have another opportunity to enter his plea on the charges in the new amended indictment against him. He is now charged with crimes committed on 28 March 1999 in Podujevo by the members of the Scorpions unit. ICTY chief prosecutor will visit Belgrade next week

Vlastimir Djordjevic in the courtroomVlastimir Djordjevic in the courtroom

Vlastimir Djordjevic, former assistant interior minister and chief of the Public Security Sector in the Serbian MUP, will tomorrow enter his plea on the new indictment amended earlier this month to include the charges related to the massacre of 14 Albanian civilians in Podujevo on 28 March 1999. This was indicated today at the press briefing at the Tribunal.

The crime was committed by the members of the Scorpions unit. The unit operated as part of the Special Anti-terrorist Units (SAJ); in 1999 they were attached to the Serbian MUP on Djordjevic’s orders.

The amended indictment alleges that nineteen women and children, members of three families: Bogujevci, Duriqi and Llugaliu, were taken out to the yard of the Gashi family house in the Rahmana Morine Street in Podujevo. They were then gunned down. Four children aged 2 to 9 were killed. Five children survived the massacre but were seriously injured. Sasa Cvjetan, a member of the Scorpions, was tried before the War Crimes Chamber in Belgrade. He was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Vlastimir Djordjevic was arrested last year in Montenegro. At his initial appearance before the judges of the Tribunal he pleaded not guilty to the five counts in the indictment charging him with deportation, persecution and forcible transfer of Albanian civilians on Kosovo in the first half of 1999.

The press was told that chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz would make another visit to Belgrade. According to the OTP spokesperson Olga Kavran, Brammertz is to meet with Serbian officials in charge of Serbia’s cooperation with the Tribunal. Other details about the visit are not known yet.