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Serbia high court upholds sentence of ethnic Albanian convicted of Kosovo war crimes

[JURIST] The Serbian Supreme Court [official website] has upheld the sentence of Anton Lekaj [indictment text], the first ethnic Albanian to be convicted by a Serb court of war crimes in the Kosovo region. A member of the Kosovo Liberation Army [BBC backgrounder], Lekaj's trial began before a special war crimes tribunal in Serbia in 2005 [JURIST report]. In September, the tribunal sentenced him to 13 years in prison [JURIST report] for the murder of four Kosovo gypsies, as well as several instances of torture, rape and sexual molestation committed in 1999.

Lekaj, 26, has maintained his innocence and has refused to recognize the court's jurisdiction. Because Kosovo has been under the control of the UN and NATO, most ethnic Albanians there have escaped the jurisdiction of Serbian courts. Lekaj was extradited to Serbia in 2004 from Montenegro after his arrest in connection with a car theft. AP has more.

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