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US bars former Serbian police chief over war-time abuses

A former Serbian police chief and current official within the ruling Progressive Party, Goran Radosavljevic, has been banned from entering the United States due to allegations of human rights abuse. 

In a statement the US State Department announced that they were publicly designating Radosavljevic under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2018 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Act. 

This maintains that those found to be involved in significant corruption or gross violations of human rights will not be eligible for entry into the US nor will their immediate family members. 

Radosavljevic's wife, Svetlana, and his daughter, Ana, have also been barred from entry.

During the Kosovo war Radosavljevic served as a commander in charge of several police units, which were responsible for the killing of over 100 people, which including razing the village of Recak and the attack on a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army’s family compound in 1998. In Recak 44 people were killed. 

Radosavljevic maintains that these operations were legitimate counter-insurgency tactics and denies war crimes were committed. 

Radosavljevic is specifically named for the 1999 murder of the Bytyqi brothers, three Albanian-American brothers killed in Serbia after the Kosovo war. 

The brothers were captured in July 1999, whilst attempting to help a Roma family escape Kosovo and seek asylum. In the Spring of 1999, around 80 Kosovo Albanians were brought into the Petrovo Selo police training centre and killed before being buried in a nearby pit. Eye witnesses claimed Radosavljevic was present, but he denies these accusations.

Radosavljevic also played a crucial role in the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000, deciding not to use force against protesters who were demanding the resignation of the Yugoslav leader. 

In doing so he was successfully able to shift within the folds of the new democratic government headed by Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. He enjoyed a successful career up till 2005 when he retired and established his own private business within the security sector and joined the Serbian Progressive Party in 2010.

The denial of entry comes despite little progress being made on the Bytyqi brothers case. 

Speaking to reporters Ilir Bytyqi, a brother of the men who were killed, said, “I want to thank Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo and the State Department for taking this initial step to show that the Trump administration will not allow my brothers’ murders to be swept under the rug”.

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