The head of the Kosovo Liberation Army Veterans’ Organization, Hysni Gucati pled not guilty before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) at his initial appearance as an accused by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (SPO).
Gucati, alongside his deputy Nasim Haradinaj, stands accused of revealing without authorization, information protected under the law of the KSC, including the identifying details of certain (potential) witnesses, on the occasion of three press conferences between 7 and 25 September 2020.
During this period, their office anonymously received investigation files leaked from the Specialist Prosecutors Office (SPO).
The SPO charges Gucati with six counts: obstructing official persons in performing official duties by serious threat; obstructing official persons in performing official duties by participating in the common action of a group; intimidation during criminal proceedings; retaliation; violating the secrecy of proceeding through unauthorized revelation of secret information disclosed in official proceedings; and violating secrecy of proceedings through unauthorized revelation of the identities and personal data of protected witnesses.
“In relation to all the counts that were read to me, I feel not guilty and I am completely not guilty. I plead not guilty to all the charges,” Gucati told The Hague-based court.
He stressed that he has the right of freedom of expression.
“And the right to express my own opinions, it is my right so that in a lawful way I defend the values of the Albanian nation and of the Kosovo Liberation Army. And I will continue to defend these values up to the end,” he said.
Gucati recalled that he was wounded on June 3, 1999 while, saying that “I and my [war] comrades have protected the thresholds of our homes and our homeland”.
“We did not invade Serbia, we are innocent, we are not guilty,” he said.
Gucati was arrested on the same day with Haradinaj, on September 25 and were transferred to The Hague.
Nasim Haradinaj appeared before court earlier on Friday, where he called the SPO corrupted, biased, political and selective.
The Hague- based tribunal was established following 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 in December 2000.
The formation of this court required constitutional changes, which were approved by the MPs of the Assembly of Kosovo in August, 2015.