From: Die Morina van Uijtregt
KLA Leaders Charged with War Crimes against ‘Hundreds of Civilians’ in Kosovo and Albania

The Hague-based Kosovo Specialist Chambers published the indictment against former Kosovo’s president Hashim Thaci, former parliament speakers Kadri Veseli and Jakup Krasniqi and the parliament member of the opposition Vetevendosje Rexhep Selimi.

“The indictment, as confirmed, states that the war crimes of illegal or arbitrary arrest and detention, cruel treatment, torture, and murder, and the crimes against humanity of imprisonment, other inhumane acts, torture, murder, enforced disappearance of persons, and persecution were committed from at least March 1998 through September 1999,” the statement issued on Thursday evening by KSC says.

It states that the crimes took place in several locations in Kosovo, and in Kukes and Cahan in Northern Albania. They  were allegedly committed by KLA members against hundreds of civilians and persons not taking part in hostilities.

The indictment says that among the victims were also Albanians supporting the Democratic League of Kosovo and “other parties perceived as anti-KLA”.

“The victims included persons suspected of being opposed to the KLA and later the Provisional Government of Kosovo, namely: (i) the Serbian, Roma and Ashkali populations; (ii) Catholics; (iii) civilians allegedly collaborating with Serb authorities or allegedly interacting with Serbs; (iv) Albanians affiliated to or supporting the Democratic League of Kosovo or other parties perceived as anti-KLA; (v) Albanians who did not join or support the KLA; and (vi) individuals with current or former employment perceived as anti-KLA,” reads the statement.

Thaçi, Veseli, Selimi and Krasniqi are individually criminally responsible, under various forms of responsibility, for the crimes, according to the indictment. It claims that the accused committed the crimes 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.

The former KLA leaders were arrested on Wednesday and Thursday, and were transferred to the detention facilities in The Hague.

Jakup Krasniqi was arrested on Wednesday after his house was raided for about nine hours.

Hashim Thaci, Kadri Veseli and Rexhep Selimi went voluntarily to the European Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, EULEX’s facilities on Thursday, after being notified that the indictment against them was confirmed.

The Kosovo war crimes court, composed of the Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague, was established by the Kosovo parliament at the insistence of the international community in August 2015.

It followed a 2011 Council of Europe report in which Swiss Senator Dick Marty addresses the alleged crimes of “members of the Kosovo Liberation Army against ethnic minorities and political rivals” from January 1998 until December 2000.