Serbia's pro-Western President Boris Tadic pledged Wednesday to bring to justice the killers of three Americans of Kosovo Albanian origin killed in 1999 in Serbia. Tadic met and talked with Fatos Bytyqi, the brother of the slain U.S. citizens who had joined a unit fighting alongside fellow ethnic Albanians and whose bodies were discovered in a mass grave in Serbia.
Bytyqi sought details of the investigation so far into his brothers' brutal killing, the president's office said. Tadic said he was adamant the case would be solved and assured Bytyqi that Serbia's special war crimes prosecutor was working to bring it to trial.
Brothers Yili, Mehmet and Agron Bytyqi were living in New York City and working in a pizza business when they decided to leave the United States to fight in Kosovo Albanians' 1998-99 separatist uprising.
They joined the so-called Atlantic Brigade, a unit of about 400 Albanian-Americans who fought alongside fellow ethnic Albanians against Serb forces during former President Slobodan Milosevic's crackdown on the province's ethnic Albanian majority.
Not much is known about how they were captured but it is believed they strayed outside of Kosovo's unmarked boundary into central Serbia, where they were put in prison and later executed.
Their bodies were found in June 2001 on top of a grave with more than 70 other Kosovo Albanians in Petrovo Selo, far from Kosovo and about 120 miles (190 kilometers) east of Belgrade. Their remains were identified by an FBI forensic team, the AP reports.
Serbia's reformist leaders who toppled Milosevic in 2000 promised to find and punish those who killed the Bytyqis, but so far no indictments have been raised. This was Fatos Bytyqi's second trip to Belgrade. On his first visit in 2004, he had accused a top police commander who fought in Kosovo during the war of killing his brothers.
The troops of the Southern and Western military districts will begin to return from Russia's southern borders to the points of their permanent deployment starting April 23