Politics

Kosovo veterans face witness intimidation case verdict


Hysni Gucati and Nasim Haradinaj, the top and the deputy head of a gaggle of Kosovan veterans of the battle, are accused of releasing particulars from categorized recordsdata that they stated they’d acquired from the courtroom.

The International Criminal Courts constructing (ICC) in The Hague. Picture: AFP.

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS – A battle crimes courtroom in The Hague will on Wednesday ship its verdict on two former separatist fighters from Kosovo’s Nineteen Nineties independence battle in opposition to Serbia, who’re accused of intimidating witnesses.

Hysni Gucati and Nasim Haradinaj, the top and the deputy head of a gaggle of Kosovan veterans of the battle, are accused of releasing particulars from categorized recordsdata that they stated they’d acquired from the courtroom.

Gucati and Haradinaj have been arrested by closely armed EU police in a raid on the veterans’ headquarters Pristina in September 2020, and despatched to the Kosovo Specialist Chambers within the Netherlands for trial.

Both have pleaded not responsible within the trial, which began in October final 12 months.

The courtroom has issued battle crimes fees in opposition to a number of senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), an ethnic Albanian guerrilla group that waged a 1998-99 independence battle in opposition to Serbia.

They embrace Kosovo’s former president Hashim Thaci, who resigned after being indicted.

The courtroom says Gucati and Haradinaj revealed protected data from the courtroom, together with particulars that might establish witnesses, throughout three press conferences between September 7 and 25, 2020.

They are charged with two counts of obstructing officers and 4 different counts of “intimidation during criminal proceedings, retaliation and violating the secrecy of proceedings,” the courtroom stated in an announcement.

CRIMINALLY RESPONSIBLE
The veterans affiliation stated it had acquired nameless packages of the courtroom’s confidential recordsdata together with details about protected witnesses and upcoming indictments.

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers operates underneath Kosovo regulation however is predicated within the Netherlands to defend witnesses from intimidation in Kosovo, the place former KLA commanders have lengthy dominated political life.

The courtroom is investigating claims that the Kosovo rebels waged a marketing campaign of revenge assaults on Serbs, Roma and ethnic Albanian rivals throughout and after the battle.

Thaci — the rebels’ former political chief — was accused by prosecutors of being “criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders”.

He pleaded not responsible when he appeared in courtroom in November 2020.

Another former commander, Salih Mustafa, in contrast the courtroom to Nazi Germany’s Gestapo secret police when he appeared within the dock in September final 12 months.

Many KLA veterans fiercely oppose the tribunal’s mandate, defending their “just” liberation battle in opposition to Belgrade’s oppression of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian inhabitants.

The battle left 13,000 folks useless, primarily ethnic Albanians, and noticed a number of prime Serbian politicians and generals later jailed for battle crimes.

Tensions between Belgrade and Pristina have remained excessive.

Serbia in addition to its highly effective allies China and Russia nonetheless don’t recognise Kosovo’s 2008 independence declaration, which has been recognised by greater than 100 nations.





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