Shemsi Nuhiu, a former Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, fighter, has been extradited to Belgrade on Wednesday night after Swiss courts turned down his appeal not to be sent for trial in Serbia.
|Nuhiu being transferred at Belgrade Airport Photo: Beta|
In cooperation with Serbian special police, the Swiss government transferred Nuhiu by regular flight Zurich- Belgrade, after which he was taken to the state prison.
The Serbian Minister for Internal Affairs, Ivica Dacic, who was present during the extradition, said that the justice has been done.
“Members of the so called Gnjilane group have killed around 150 people in 1999 and all those responsible should be punished. This also shows good cooperation between the Serbian and Swiss police,” Dacic added.
The European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg rejected on Friday Nuhiu’s appeal against the Swiss decision, thereby making the Swiss ruling on the extradition to Serbia final.
|Shemsi Nuhiu, former KLA member Photo: Beta|
Previously, the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland decided on March 7 that Nuhiu should be extradited to Serbia based on the international arrest warrant that the Serbian police issued a year ago.
Serbia has charged Nuhiu, a former member of KLA and a citizen of both Serbia and Kosovo, with the unlawful imprisonment, torture, rape, intimidation, terror and robbery of Serb and other non-Albanian civilians in the Gnjilane area of Kosovo in 1999.
According to the allegations, from the beginning of June until December 1999, he and other 16 KLA members of the so called Gnjilane group, tortured and killed 80 people while a further 153 were tortured and released. Thirty-four people remain missing.
The accused allegedly held the civilians in the basement of a school, where he and his colleagues tortured and raped them, afterwards their bodies were cut to pieces and thrown into containers and then into a lake.
Belgrade Special Court is currently running the trials against the Gnjilane group for the second time.
Previously, a court had ruled on January 21, 2011 on the events in the Gnjilane area, sentencing the nine of them to a total of 101 years in prison.
The Serbian appeals court quashed the judgment on December 7 and sent the case back for retrial.
The nine KLA members already imprisoned in Serbia were arrested in 2008 in Presevo, a town near Kosovo in southern Serbia with a majority Albanian population.
Belgrade authorities are still searching for Fazlija Ajdari, Rexheb Alija, Shaqir Shaqiri, Shefket Musliji, Sadik Aliji, Idriz Aliji and Ramadan Halimi.
The Kosovo embassy in Switzerland announced they will ask the Swiss embassy in Belgrade to closely monitor Nuhiu’s trial.