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Kosovo upholds Serb MP conviction for denying 1999 massacre

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By Euronews
Kosovo’s Court of Appeal upheld the verdict from 2019.
Kosovo’s Court of Appeal upheld the verdict from 2019.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu, FILE

A Kosovo court has upheld the conviction of a Kosovan Serb MP who claimed a 1999 massacre was "fabricated".

Ivan Todosijevic was found guilty in December 2019 of inciting ethnic hatred and sentenced to two years in prison.

He had denied the Kosovo civilians were massacred in the village of Račak during the Kosovo War and called ethnic Albanian independence fighters "terrorists".

The former ethnic Serb minister was convicted by a Pristina court of inciting national, racial, religious, and ethnic hatred. Todosijevic was also fired by outgoing Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj after making the comments.

On Wednesday, Kosovo’s Court of Appeal upheld the verdict, despite appeals from Kosovo Serb politicians.

Petar Petkovic, the head of the Serbian government’s office for Kosovo, said on Facebook that the decision was "shameful".

"The Pristina judiciary has caused incalculable damage to the reconciliation process in Kosovo," he added.

"With this scandalous decision, which is not based on either law or justice ... is a verdict against every Serb who fights for the truth."

The Račak massacre, in which 45 Kosovo Albanians were killed by Serbian forces, was one of the incidents that prompted NATO to step in and stop the war.

NATO's 78-day bombing campaign ended the 1998-99 crackdown by Slobodan Milosevic on ethnic Albanian independence fighters in Kosovo, which was a province of Serbia at the time.

Kosovo's independence in 2008 isn't recognised by Serbia, and many Serbs still consider Kosovo as part of their territory.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić previously described Todosijevic's conviction as "frightening".

"The state of Serbia will continue to provide all the necessary legal and any other assistance to Ivan Todosijevic, who was attacked by Pristina only because he is a Serb and defends the truth," Petkovic added on Facebook.

Additional sources • AP