Former Commander of Kosovo Liberation Army, Rexhep Selimi pleaded not guilty to all charges raised by the Special Prosecutor’s Office and confirmed by the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague.
“I plead not guilty in relation to all the charges in the indictment,” Selimi told the court on Wednesday.
Selimi is charged with six counts of crimes against humanity, namely: persecution, imprisonment, other inhumane acts, torture, murder and enforced disappearance of persons. And four counts of war crimes, namely: arbitrary detention, cruel treatment, torture and murder.
The Prosecution claims that alongside with three other KLA senior figures, Hashim Thaci, Jakup Krasniqi and Kadri Veseli, Selimi committed those crimes from “April 1998 and August 1999” in several locations in Kosovo and Northern Albania.
He said that despite separated roles at the courtroom, the aim of everyone there is to establish justice and truth.
Selimi called the indictment against him and other KLA senior figures as “very serious”, “very unjust” and “inaccurate”.
“I fought against Serbia, I fought against the Serbian occupier, against Serbia that only brought evil to my country, murder, displacement, humiliation and genocide. That’s what Serbia did in Kosovo,” Selimi told the court.
“That is why I say that I did my duty as a citizen of my country. I am only a person who fought for liberation,” he added.
Rexhep Selimi, who during the war served at the KLA’s headquarters said that trial will show that Kosovo’s people fight was just and the war was clean.
Selimi’s defence stressed that a release request will be submitted as there are no indications that Selimi will influence witnesses or destroy evidence, also for the fact that Selimi surrendered himself to authorities.
Rexhep Selimi served as the Chief of Parliamentary Group of the opposition Vetevendosje. Alongside his party’s members, Selimi strongly opposed establishing of the Specialist Chambers.
The Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office were established five years ago, in August 2015, by the Kosovo Parliament to investigate crimes allegedly committed by former Kosovo Liberation Army members.