Accessibility links

Breaking News

Serbian Defense Ministry Promotes Book By Ex-Officer Convicted Of War Crimes

The war journal written by Nebojsa Pavkovic is displayed at the Belgrade book fair in October 2018.

Serbia's Defense Ministry has hosted a ceremony promoting a book by a former general who is in prison for war crimes and allowed him to address the event via a video recording.

Nebojsa Pavkovic, an ex-chief of staff of Yugoslavia's military, is serving a 22-year prison sentence for war crimes committed by his troops in Kosovo during the late 1990s.

A video recording allowed Pavkovic to address the launching from his prison cell in Finland.

Pavkovic told the audience that his book, based on the diary he kept during Belgrade's crackdown on Kosovar Albanians represented "a heroic testimony" of Serbia's defense from "NATO aggression."

A 78-day NATO air war that started in March 1999 stopped a Serbian offensive against Kosovar Albanian separatists and civilians that led to more than 10,000 deaths and forced nearly 1 million people from their homes.

A UN war crimes tribunal in 2009 convicted Pavkovic of deportation, forcible transfer, murder, and persecution of ethnic Albanians.

The book's title is Merciful Angel's Embrace For 78 Days, which is based on Serbian propaganda that falsely claimed NATO gave the Kosovo campaign the code name Merciful Angel.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008. Although more than 110 countries recognize Kosovo, Belgrade does not, and continued tensions between the two have been an obstacle in the path to European Union membership.

Based on reporting by AP and Balkan Insight