WASHINGTON—Following this week’s announcement by the U.S. State Department that it is placing sanctions on Goran “Guri” Radosavljevic of Serbia due to credible allegations of his involvement in the 1999 murders of brothers Agron, Mehmet, and Ylli Bytyqi, Helsinki Commission leaders issued the following statements:
“I welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to sanction Goran Radosavljevic and bar him and his immediate family from the United States,” said Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Roger Wicker (MS). “Congress has given the executive branch the tools to impose serious consequences on those implicated in corruption or serious human rights abuses abroad, and I am encouraged by the administration’s use of these tools to defend and advance U.S. interests.”
“I have met the surviving members of the Bytyqi family and have long encouraged senior Serbian officials to thoroughly investigate and vigorously prosecute those responsible for the murder of the three brothers to justice,” said Ranking Commissioner Sen. Ben Cardin (MD). “The announced sanctions on Radosavljevic reinforce our desire to see justice in this case, and I encourage the administration to continue to press Belgrade to take action.”
Agron, Mehmet, and Ylli Bytyqi, all U.S. citizens, were apprehended by Serbian police in July 1999 when they accidently crossed from Kosovo into Serbian-controlled territory while escorting a Romani family to safety. After serving a two-week sentence for illegal entry, the brothers were not released but placed instead in the custody of a special operations unit of the Serbian Interior Ministry, which transported them to a training facility commanded by Radosavljevic, where they were murdered execution-style. Their bodies were subsequently found in a mass grave with ethnic Albanian victims of the 1998-1999 conflict in Kosovo. To date, no one has been brought to justice for this crime, despite repeated urgings by U.S. officials and promises by Serbia’s most senior leaders.
Section 7031(c) of the FY 2018 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Act provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that foreign officials have been involved in significant corruption or a serious violation of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States. Radosavljevic is reportedly a security consultant in Belgrade and prominent member of the governing political party in Serbia.