An appeals panel of the Kosovo Specialist Chamber (KSC) in The Hague has refused requests for interim release by 4 former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
Hashim Thaci, Kadri Veseli, Jakup Krasniqi, and Rexhep Selimi, all former KLA leaders turned politicians were refused interim release by the pre-trial panel mainly on grounds that they may obstruct the trial proceeding if released, and influence witnesses.
The four separate court decisions published on Friday are sympathetic with defendants’ arguments that they would not flee justice if released to house arrest, but they conclude that there is no way to prevent them from contacting people and thus obstructing justice if released.
The four leaders stand accused of war crimes during Kosovo’s war of independence agaisnt Serbia in 1998-1999.
They were arrested in Kosovo and brought to The Hague detention facilities of the KSC in late 2020. Shortly after, a pri-trial court decided for them to await trial in custody.
Charges against them include crimes against humanity, namely: persecution, imprisonment, other inhumane acts, torture, murder and enforced disappearance of persons, and war crimes, namely: arbitrary detention, cruel treatment, torture and murder.
All of them plead not guilty.
In January this year, they were refused interim release on grounds of possible obstruction of justice, decisions which they all appealed.