The trial of the former leaders of the KLA - proof of the continuing need for justice
The human rights organization "Human Rights Watch" said on Friday that the trial of the former leader of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi and three others, Kadri Veseli, Rexhep Selimit and Jakup Krasniqi, under charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, puts I saw the constant need for justice, 24 years after the war in Kosovo.
The statement of the "Human Rights Watch" organization was published a few days before the start of the trial against the former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Hashim Thaçi, Kadri Veseli, Jakup Krasniqi and Rexhep Selimi. The trial against them is expected to begin on Monday, April 3, at the Special Court based in The Hague.
Director for Europe and Asia at Human Rights Watch, Hugh Williamson, said that the trial offers an opportunity after so many to learn what happened, and highlights the impunity that continues to exist for the conflict in Kosovo, but also for other wars in the areas of the former Yugoslavia.
"This trial is against four people accused of committing horrific crimes during and after the war, when the fighting had stopped, including crimes against members of various ethnic groups," Mr Williamson said.
According to the organization Human Rights Watch, the protection of witnesses is particularly important for this trial, taking into account the challenges with the intimidation of witnesses in other cases against former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army.
"The trial of (Hashim) Thaçi can help put Kosovo on a clearer path to justice and the rule of law after a history of oppression," said Mr. Williamson, adding that it also "puts the Serbian government in the spotlight." to hold its own forces to account after years of protecting those responsible for serious crimes."
The former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Hashim Thaçi, Kadri Veseli, Jakup Krasniqi and Rexhep Selimi, were arrested in November 2020. The Special Prosecutor's Office of Kosovo, based in The Hague, charges them with the crimes of persecution and imprisonment, arbitrary detention, other inhumane acts, cruel treatment, torture, murder, and enforced disappearance of persons. According to the prosecution, the crimes alleged by her were committed between approximately April 1998 and August 1999 in a number of locations in Kosovo and Albania.
Mr. Thaçi, like the other accused, have said that they feel innocent in the face of the charges.
"Dear judge, the charge is completely untenable and I plead completely innocent. I reiterate that the accusation is completely untenable, I plead not guilty to all points as untenable", Mr. Thaçi said in his first appearance before the judge of the preliminary procedure in November of 2020.
The other accused also stated similarly, stressing that even those of the Kosovo Liberation Army have nothing to do with the crimes described in the indictment.
The idea for the establishment of the special court for war crimes in Kosovo, followed the investigations of the claims of the envoy of the Council of Europe Dick Marty, whose report presented to the Council of Europe 11 years ago, contains accusations against former members of the Liberation Army of Kosovo for abductions, mistreatment, extrajudicial killings and in some cases forceful removal of human organs and their trafficking from Albania during and after the war in Kosovo.
The Special Court was established in 2015 and operates under the laws of Kosovo, but with international personnel. Its raising as well as the raising of accusations have been constantly accompanied by reactions and protests in Kosovo, where it is claimed that in this way reconciliation is being made with the atrocities committed by the Serbian forces during the war of 1998-1999, which ended with the intervention of NATO. s./ VOA