Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Opening of the Trial of Hashim Thaçi, Kadri Veseli, Rexhep Selimi and Jakup Krasniqi

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On 3 April 2023, the trial against Mr. Hashim Thaçi and co-accused Kadri Veseli, Rexhep Selimi and Jakup Krasniqi will open before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC). Opening statements are scheduled on 3, 4 and 5 April, starting at 9:00. The hearings can be followed in the three languages of the court, Albanian, Serbian and English, via the streaming function on the KSC website, with a 45-minute delay.

The initial indictment against the four accused was confirmed on 26 October 2020, and amended on 3 September 2021, 29 April 2022, and 30 September 2022. A lesser redacted version of the indictment was filed on 27 February 2023. This is currently the operative indictment in this case.

Each of the accused is charged on the basis of individual criminal responsibility with six counts of crimes against humanity: persecution, imprisonment, other Inhumane acts, torture, murder, and enforced disappearance of persons. Each of the accused is also charged with four counts of war crimes: illegal and arbitrary arrest and detention, cruel treatment, torture, and murder.

Hashim Thaci, instituut Clingendael.(Den Haag 23-04-18) Foto:Frank Jansen

The indictment states that the crimes charged were committed from at least March 1998 through September 1999 and took place in several locations across Kosovo as well as in Kukës and Cahan, in Northern Albania. They were allegedly committed by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) against hundreds of civilians and persons not taking part in hostilities. The indictment alleges that Thaçi, Veseli, Selimi and Krasniqi are individually criminally responsible, pursuant to various forms of criminal responsibility, for crimes which were committed in the context of a non-international armed conflict in Kosovo and were part of a widespread and systematic attack against persons suspected of being opposed to the KLA.

Starting on 3 April, the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) will deliver their opening statement and has been allocated a maximum of 5 hours to do so. Next, the Victims’ Counsel is scheduled to make his opening statement, which will last a maximum of 45 minutes. After the Victims’ Counsel, each of the four Defence teams will deliver their opening statements. These statements are scheduled to begin on 4 April.

Hashim Thaci, instituut Clingendael.(Den Haag 23-04-18) Foto:Frank Jansen

140 individuals have been admitted to participate in the proceedings as victims. Persons demonstrating that they have suffered physical, mental or material harm as a direct result of a crime alleged in the confirmed indictment applied to participate in proceedings before the KSC. This included both individuals who were directly subjected to harm and individuals who indirectly suffered harm, for example, because they were in a close relationship with a direct victim who was allegedly killed or injured.”

The Trial Panel has indicated that the presentation of evidence in the trial, including the calling of witnesses by the SPO, will begin on 11 April 2023.

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