BELGRADE – The First Basic Court in Belgrade obliged the Republic of Serbia to pay RSD 25.9 million in compensation to 24 closest relatives of 14 women and children who were killed in front of their own houses in Podujevo in March 1999 by members of the Serbian interior ministry unit “Scorpions”, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), which represents the families of the victims, said in a release on Friday.

This is the first judgment in Serbia awarding compensation on the basis of established responsibility of the Serbian state for the crime committed by its forces against Albanian civilians during the armed conflict in Kosovo, the HLC said.

The HLC’s lawyer filed an appeal against this judgment, because the compensation is less than half of the amount originally requested by the lawsuit, and clearly not in accordance with the standards regarding the protection of the fundamental human right to life before the European Court of Human Rights, reads the release.