CALLING FOR JUSTICE FOR THE BYTYQI BROTHERS
(Extensions of Remarks - October 22, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1543-E1544]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




              CALLING FOR JUSTICE FOR THE BYTYQI BROTHERS

                                 ______
                                 

                         HON. TIMOTHY H. BISHOP

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, October 22, 2013

  Mr. BISHOP of New York. Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing a 
concurrent resolution calling upon the government of Serbia to bring to 
justice those responsible for the murders of Ylli, Agron and Mehmet 
Bytyqi in July 1999. The resolution also calls on our government to do 
what it can to encourage and assist a successful prosecution of the 
case. I want to thank my fellow colleague from New York, Mr. Grimm, for 
co-sponsoring this resolution.
  The three Bytyqi brothers were American citizens. Their ethnic 
Albanian family emigrated to the United States from Kosovo, and some 
family members reside in my district on Long Island. During the Kosovo 
conflict which prompted the NATO air campaign against Serbia, the 
brothers traveled to the region to fight. Remaining in Kosovo after a 
cease fire agreement ended the conflict, the three young men escorted 
an ethnic Romani neighbor and his family from Kosovo to Serbian 
controlled territory, where they would be safer. Accidently straying 
across the border, they were detained by police in southern Serbia and 
then sentenced for illegally entering the country. When released from 
prison, they were not set free but taken to a Ministry of Interior 
special forces training camp where they were executed and buried in a 
mass grave with the bodies of dozens of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo.
  To be clear, the Bytyqi brothers were not sentenced for any crime 
other than illegal entry. They were not afforded an opportunity

[[Page E1544]]

to defend themselves in a court of law. They were not given a fair and 
public trial. They were shot, in cold blood, by a paramilitary unit 
working under the Ministry of Interior.
  In 1999, Serbia was under the rule of Slobodan Milosevic, whose 
regime fomented ethnic hatred and was responsible for some of the worst 
atrocities in Europe since World War II. Today, Serbia is a very 
different place, moving forward in its democratic development, 
improving relations with its neighbors and advancing on its path toward 
European integration. In doing so, it has worked to prosecute many of 
the crimes committed in the Milosevic era. It is unfortunate, however, 
that those responsible for the murders of the Bytyqi brothers continue 
to elude justice.
  Our government should do everything it can to ensure the successful 
prosecution of those responsible for the murders of U.S. citizens 
abroad. It should provide resources as needed, and it should make it 
clear to the authorities in Belgrade that inaction does have 
repercussions on bilateral relations. This resolution encourages just 
that. The resolution will also hopefully convey to the Serbian 
authorities the concerns of the U.S. Congress, and it is my hope they 
will respond by removing any protection given to the perpetrators of 
this crime and prosecuting them in a court of law. Hopefully, Serbia's 
political leaders will not only recognize the seriousness which we 
attach to this case but also understand that it is in Serbia's interest 
to let justice work to sever the ties with the Milosevic past that have 
held the country back from a Europe where it otherwise belongs.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to support this resolution and its 
passage in this Congress.

                          ____________________