News 10 Sep 12

Ex-KLA Fighter Threatens Serbian Prosecutor

During the closing stages of the trial of 17 ex-KLA fighters, known as the ‘Gnjilane group’, for crimes against civilians in Kosovo, one of the accused threatened the Serbian prosecutor.

Marija Ristic

Agush Memishi, a former member of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA,  threatened the Serbian prosecutor Mioljub Vitorovic during the closing arguments in the Gnjilane group trial, saying that he would seek revenge as soon as he got out of prison.
“I will have my revenge, and if I can't seek it, then my children will, if they can't get it, then my grandchildren will seek it …I didn’t commit any criminal offence, and for this, as soon as I get out [ of prison], I will seek my revenge, “ shouted Memishi.

Nazif Hasani, Ahmet Hasani, Faton Hajdari, Samet Hajdari, Ferat Hajdari, Kamber Sahiti, Selimon Sadiki, Agush Memishi, Burim Fazli and Shemsi Nuhiu are charged as members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, stationed in Gnjilane, Kosovo, with brutally torturing to death at least 80 people between early June and late December 1999.

According to the indictment issued by the prosecution on August 11, 2009, at least 34 people are still considered missing.

Hundred and fifty three people, who were illegally detained and tortured, were subsequently released.

Seven of the accused, Fazli Ajdari, Rexhep Aliu, Shaqir Shaqiri, Shefqet Musliu, Sadik Aliu, Idriz  Aliu and Ramadan Halimi, are still being sought, and are on trial in absentia.

In his closing arguments,  the prosecutor Mioljub Vitorovic said that it had been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the accused were responsible for these crimes.

Ilija Radulovic, Shemsi Nuhiu's defence lawyer, tried to dismiss the crucial testimony of the prosecution’s protected witness “Bozur 50”, calling him “a liar and a criminal, who lies for money.”

He also added that several people had provided a substantial alibi for his defendant, as they all said that Nuhiu was in neighboring Macedonia, and not in Kosovo, at the time of the alleged crimes.

Milorad Konstantinovic, another defence lawyer, went onto argue that if the crimes had occurred in Gnjilane on June 16, 1999, then they could not be considered as war crimes, since a peace agreement had been reached between the Albanian and Serbian sides on June 10 that year.

All of the accused have pleaded not guilty and have asked to be acquitted.

A Belgrade court sentenced nine members of the Gnjilane Group to a total of 101 years in prison for war crimes against civilians on January 21, 2011.

The War Crimes Chamber of the Appellate Court in Belgrade quashed that verdict on December 7, 2011, and sent the case for a retrial.

The verdict is due to be given on September 19.

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