With 16 bullet scars and 14 family members dead; New MP Sworn in Kosovo

Saranda Bogujevci, 1999 war massacre survivor | Youtube snapshot

Kosovo's new parliament convenes on Thursday with a new remarkable member in the assembly.

Saranda Bogujevci, who survived 16 bullets and lost 14 members of her family, including her mother and two brothers during Serbia's brutal military crackdown on ethnic Albanians in its then southern province in 1998-99 will be sworn in as a member of the parliament of the Vetevendosje (self-determination) party, Reuters said.

Four years after she was injured, Bogujevci, then 18, along with her three cousins became the first ethnic Albanian victims to testify before a Serbian court about the atrocities perpetrated by forces under late strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

The party’s share of the vote doubled in a June election on a promise to fight endemic corruption and nepotism in the tiny Balkan state.

"It is difficult to go through those experiences and see (Kosovo) governments that are not working and doing right for the people and that is what pushed me to get into politics," Bogujevci told sources during a visit to the graves of her family in Podujeva, north of the capital Pristina.

"I always imagined what Kosovo would be like after 20 years," she said. "I never thought it will be like this."

Bogujevci's family was slaughtered in a back garden in Podujeva on March 28, 1999 by members of a Serbian paramilitary unit known as the Scorpions. The youngest victim was two years old. Five men were eventually jailed for the murders and in 2013 Bogujevci returned to Belgrade, where she had testified against them, to stage an exhibition about the killings.

With the end of the conflict, Bogujevci and four surviving cousins were evacuated to the English city of Manchester where she was operated on and went on to get a university degree in interactive arts. She returned to her homeland in 2014 to run the culture department of Pristina municipality.

According to the source, Bogujevci faces a new fight in a country recognized as independent by more than half the world but denied a place in the United Nations by the opposition of Serbia and its veto-wielding ally, Russia.