War crimes suspect arrested in Kosovo

A war crimes suspect has been arrested by European Union police officers in Kosovo, officials say.

Local media identified the suspect as Sabit Geci, a member of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

The suspect is accused of torturing prisoners between April and June 1999 at a detention facility run by the KLA in the town of Kukes, northern Albania.

The suspect was detained after a police raid on a house in the capital Pristina, local media reported.

The arrest was made by the European Union Law and Justice Mission (Eulex). The mission did not provide any further details.

Sabit Geci, 51, is suspected of torture and mistreatment of prisoners at the Kukes detention facility, which was a key supply point for the KLA during the conflict in the 1990s.

War crimes investigations have been carried out by the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, by the UN Mission in Kosovo, and most recently by the EU mission, the BBC’s Nick Thorpe in Pristina reports.

But this is the first arrest related to war crimes which allegedly took place on Albanian territory, our correspondent adds.

In 2001, Sabit Geci was sentenced by a UN court to more than five years in prison for extortion.

More than 10,000 people were killed in the Kosovo conflict in the late 1990s, during an insurgency by ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo and its suppression by the Yugoslav government of Slobodan Milosevic.

Nato responded by bombing Serbia into submission, after which Kosovo was placed under UN administration.

Kosovo declared independence in February 2008, but Belgrade still regards it as its province.

In December 2008, Eulex took over police, justice and customs services from UN. Serbia has accepted the EU mission.

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