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Former Kosovo Albanian Guerrillas Deny War Crimes

Three former Kosovo Albanian guerrillas pleaded not guilty at the Hague war crimes tribunal on Thursday to murdering and torturing Kosovo Albanian and Serb civilians in a Kosovo prison camp in 1998. Haradin Bala, Isak Musliu and Agim Murtezi — the first former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) guerrillas to face trial at the Hague tribunal — denied committing crimes against humanity and war crimes at the Lapusnik prison camp. The proceedings mark a watershed for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). It is the first time it has indicted Kosovo Albanian rebels who fought against Serb forces in the renegade province in the late 1990s. Prosecutors said the KLA intimidated, imprisoned and murdered Serb and Kosovo Albanian civilians who refused to cooperate with its armed resistance against Serb rule in the impoverished and mainly Muslim province in the late 1990s. The three — dressed in identical dark blue jumpers for their first appearance in the U.N. court — are accused of beating, torturing and murdering Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo suspected of “collaboration” with Serb government forces. Full Story

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