Thousands of Macedonians welcome released war crimes convict

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-4-12 9:23:35

The only Macedonian convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Johan Tarculovski was welcomed on Thursday by thousands of Macedonians at the main square in the capital city of Skopje.

Tarculovski was released on Wednesday from a German prison after serving two-thirds of his 12-year prison term.

After landing at Skopje airport, he was welcomed by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and other government officials, as well as his family members.

In 2008, Tarculovski was convicted by the ICTY for leading a police unit that killed civilians and done other atrocities in 2001. According to the court, Tarculovski led the unit that raid the village of Ljuboten some 15 km north of Skopje.

However, his formal boss during the period, then Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski who was also charged by the ICTY was acquitted of all charges in 2008.

In 2001, armed conflict erupted between Macedonian security forces and Albanian rebels for more rights for Albanian minority. The conflict ended with the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement that ensured more rights for minorities in Macedonia.

Tarculovski is seen by the ethnic Macedonians as a national hero and a majority of Macedonians think that Tarculovski was innocent and was wrongfully convicted.

Most Macedonians also see this as injustice as the ICTY overturned the so-called four "Hague cases" in which ethnic Albanian rebels were charged for war crimes and said that those should be processed in Macedonia.

Posted in: Europe

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