KOSOVO: Hague Prosecution Contests Challenge to Hashim Thaci Indictment
Xhorxhina Bami Pristina BIRN April 27, 202116:09
The prosecution at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers argued that the indictment clearly explains the crimes committed by ex-president Thaci and his co-defendants, and urged the court to reject the defence’s challenge to the charges.
Courtesy of Balkan Insight [link of the website: https://balkaninsight.com]
The prosecution at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague has asked the pre-trial judge to dismiss the defence’s motions challenging the indictment of former Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and three other former Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas turned politicians, Kadri Veseli, Rexhep Selimi and Jakup Krasniqi.
“The indictment sets forth a concise statement of the material facts of the [prosecution’s] case and of the crimes and modes of liability charged,” the prosecution said in its written response to the defence motions.
The defence had criticised what it described as the prosecution’s failure to provide information about the identities of alleged perpetrators by referring to them as “KLA [Kosovo Liberation Army] members”, and also about the identities of the alleged victims.
“It is also vague about the locations of some crimes and insufficiently details Mr Thaci’s link to the crimes, as well as the role he is accused of playing,” it said.
But the prosecution’s response, which is dated April 23 but was made public on Tuesday, insisted that the indictment “describes in sufficient detail ‘who did what, when, where and against whom’”.
The indictment alleges that Thaci and three other former Kosovo politicians committed war crimes and crimes against humanity when they were senior figures in the KLA in the late 1990s.
They are accused of having been part of a “joint criminal enterprise” that aimed to take control over Kosovo during the war “by means including unlawfully intimidating, mistreating, committing violence against, and removing those deemed to be opponents”. They have all pleaded not guilty.
The common purpose of the joint criminal enterprise “encompassed widespread, continuing, and recurring crimes against hundreds of opponents”, the defence response said.
It said that the crimes “formed part of a campaign of persecution throughout Kosovo and northern Albania”.
“The indictment details incidents of persecution, imprisonment/arbitrary detention, other inhumane acts/cruel treatment, torture, murder, and enforced disappearance at or in connection with more than 40 locations in at least 16 municipalities throughout Kosovo and two districts of northern Albania,” it added.
The Kosovo Specialist Chambers were set up to try former KLA guerrillas for crimes allegedly committed during and just after the Kosovo war from 1998 to 2000.
They are part of Kosovo’s judicial system but located in the Netherlands and staffed by internationals.
The so-called ‘Special Court’ is widely resented by Kosovo Albanians, who see it as an attempt to tarnish the KLA’s war for liberation from Serbian rule.
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