On October 22, Congressman Lee Zeldin took another step toward his goal of calling for justice when the House of Representatives passed his resolution 32, seeking accountability following the executions of the Bytyqi brothers.
In July 1999, the three brothers, Ylli, 25; Agron, 23; and Mehmet Bytyqi, 21; born near Chicago, but living in Hampton Bays, went overseas to join Kosovo’s fight for independence. Televised images of the war in Kosovo led them to join other volunteer soldiers of Albanian origin, who traveled to their ancestral homeland. The brothers had been reported missing for two years following an attempt to help a family cross the border from Kosovo to Serbia. They had been jailed for crossing into Serbian-controlled territory. Their remains were found in July 2001 in a mass grave in Petrovo Selo, inside Serbia.
The indictment against the alleged perpetrators says the brothers were brought to the edge of a pit, hands tied behind their backs, and shot in the head. While Serbian authorities have investigated their deaths, there have been no charges brought against those responsible.
“The brothers were kidnapped, murdered, and dumped into a mass grave in Serbia by government officials still serving today,” Zeldin said. “Since taking office, I have been committed to helping the Bytyqi family receive the justice they have long deserved.”
In December 2018, the Department of State designated Goran Radosavljevic of Serbia under Section 7031(c) due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights, including the murder of the Bytyqi brothers. In February of this year, Zeldin and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel met in Munich with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to continue to demand justice in this case. Vucic “once again promised to solve the case of the Bytyqi brothers,” the congressman said.
“Despite many promises by Serbian officials to resolve the case of this state-sponsored murder, there has been no justice served,” Zeldin said. “This resolution notes that progress with this investigation should remain a significant factor, which determines the further development of U.S.-Serbian relations. The Bytyqi brothers gave their lives to fight injustice; now we must return this favor and deliver justice for their family.”