Legal professionals for Kosovo suspects: Trial cannot begin earlier than 2022

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Lawyers for Kosovo suspects: Trial can't start before 2022

Updated 7:51 am EST, Wednesday November 18, 2020

  • Hashim Thaci, who has resigned as President of Kosovo on charges of murder, torture and persecution, and his lawyer David Hooper, who has left, will appear before a judge in the court for the first time on Monday November 9th Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague, The Netherlands, on, 2020. An international prosecutor has charged Thaci with 10 crimes against humanity and war crimes charges for his leadership of Kosovar Liberation Army fighters accused of war prisoners and suspects Having illegally imprisoned, abused and murdered traitors. (Jerry Lamps via AP Photo, Pool) Less Hashim Thaci, who resigned as President of Kosovo on charges of murder, torture and persecution, and his lawyer David Hooper, left, appear before a judge in Kosovo for the first time … more

    Photo: Jerry Lamps, AP

Hashim Thaci, who has resigned as President of Kosovo on charges of murder, torture and persecution, and his lawyer David Hooper, who has left, will appear before a judge in the court for the first time on Monday November 9th Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague, The Netherlands, on, 2020. An international prosecutor has charged Thaci with 10 crimes against humanity and war crimes charges for his leadership of Kosovar Liberation Army fighters accused of war prisoners and suspects Having illegally imprisoned, abused and murdered traitors. (Jerry Lamps via AP Photo, Pool) Less Hashim Thaci, who resigned as President of Kosovo on charges of murder, torture and persecution, and his lawyer David Hooper, left, appear before a judge in Kosovo for the first time … more

Photo: Jerry Lamps, AP

Kosovo suspect lawyers: trial cannot start before 2022

The Hague, Netherlands (AP) – Defenders of former Kosovo guerrilla leaders, including ex-President Hashim Thaci, said Wednesday that their war crimes and crimes against humanity trials could not begin until summer 2022 at the earliest.

The comments came at a procedural hearing in the case against Thaci and three other former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army, detained in The Hague awaiting charges of murder, torture and illegal detention allegedly during Kosovo’s struggle for independence in 1998-99 were committed from Serbia. You deny the allegations.

A prosecutor’s attorney told the hearing in the specialized chambers of Kosovo that the trial could begin in summer 2021. Prosecutors plan to produce evidence from around 200 witnesses and 1,500 pieces of evidence.

Thaci’s attorney David Hooper responded, “It takes at least 18 months before I think we would even think about being ready for the trial. I find the proposal to bring this case to trial in June absolutely absurd. “

Amid coronavirus restrictions in the Netherlands, all of the defendants and their lawyers appeared at the hearing via video links.

Defense attorneys argued that prosecutors had years to prepare their indictment and case, while the defense has only just started work following the suspects’ recent arrests and the publication of their charges.

Even so, Ben Emmerson, who represented Kadri Veseli, outlined the outline of his defense process, arguing that previous international trials against KLA leaders had failed to prove that it was a well-structured force with an overarching plan known as a joint criminal enterprise . To commit crime.

Instead, Emmerson said, the KLA is a poorly organized group of part-time fighters engaged in a struggle for self-defense against the well-organized Serbian armed forces. This lack of organization, he said, means that the suspects cannot be held responsible as commanders for crimes of individual fighters.

Most of those who died in the Kosovo war were ethnic Albanians and 1,641 people are still unregistered. A 78-day NATO air campaign against Serbian troops ended the fighting.

The formation of the Hague-based court and a special prosecutor’s office followed a 2011 report by the Council of Europe, a human rights organization, which contained allegations that KLA militants traded human organs from prisoners and killed Serbs and other ethnic Albanians believed to be traitors. The charges against Thaci and his co-defendants did not consider the organ harvesting allegations.

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