Nenad Rasic, the minister of communities and return in the Pristina Government, on Jan. 10 said that shots fired at two young Serbs in Kosovo on the day before Orthodox Christmas (Jan. 6) represented an attempted murder motivated by ethnic intolerance.
Speaking to Belgrade daily Nova, Rasic said that Azem Kurtaj, the ethnic Albanian who fired at and wounded two Serb youths, had been earlier known for his nationalistic statements.
Rasic also said that he would like to see Kurtaj’s colleagues subpoenaed to testify about his “general behavior” and his nationalism.
“The version according to which Azem Kurtaj was allegedly attacked and surrounded is his lawyer’s story, and I would not give it much importance. I am guided by the indictment, which describes the incident as an attempted murder and it will stay so,” Rasic noted.
Rasic stressed that the Kosovo police response to the wounding of Stefan, aged 11, and Milos Stojanovic, aged 21, on “a sacred religious holiday,” the day before Christmas, should have been much more rapid and better than in other cases.
“There is a long and harmful history of ethnically motivated incidents and the perpetrators have unfortunately gone unpunished. I therefore believe that this could be the success of the year of the Kosovo police, because they managed to identify and arrest the perpetrators in such a short time,” Rasic specified.
Rasic also said he believed that Kurtaj would be punished “adequately,” adding that what he had seen so far and what had been written by the prosecutor and upheld by the judge, indicated the resolve existed in the local judiciary.
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