EULEX judge denies all requests by the defence team in the Klecka war crimes case.
The Albanian criminology forensic expert Hysen Kotri, and the wife of the deceased key witness in the Klecka Case, Ganimete Zogaj, will not be called as witnesses, a judge of the EU rule of law mission to Kosovo decided.
The EULEX judge, Jonathan Welford-Carroll, rejected all the requests presented by the defence lawyers on Tuesday. He also ruled that the trial would continue in the absence of one of the defendants, Behlul Limaj, who was sent to hospital during the last session.
“These requests are not adequate at this stage and as such are rejected,” argued the British judge, adding that the main hearing is about the admissibility of the testimonies presented by the prosecution.
He did not rule out accepting the witness list presented by the defence at a later stage.
Ten former Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, fighters, including their commander Fatmir Limaj, have been indicted on suspicion of committing war crimes against Serbs and Albanians at the Klecka detention centre in 1999.
When the trial commenced last November, Fatmir Limaj, Nexhmi Krasniqi,Naser Shala, Enver Krasniqi, Sabit Shala, Refi Mazreku, Arben Krasniqi, Shaban Shala, Behlul Limaj and Besim Shurdhaj, pleaded not guilty.
The defence team objected to the court’s decision not to call the two witnesses at this stage, and accused the EU mission of incompetence.
“EULEX’s prosecution has shown arrogance, it has exaggerated and it has failed to bring forward any reliable witness,” said Karim Khan, the lawyer for Fatmir Limaj.
The case, heard in front of Pristina’s District Court, rests mainly on the testimony of the deceased Zogaj, who killed himself last September in Germany.
Zogaj, known as “Witness X”, was a prison guard at the Klecka prison during the Kosovo war in 1999, and made notes in his diary about events there. As such he provided the key testimony in the war crimes trial against his alleged commander Fatmir Limaj and nine other defendants.
Handwriting analysis of Zogaj’s diary, commissioned by defence lawyers, has concluded that more than one person probably wrote it.
Fatmir Limaj’s lawyer Karim Khan presented a DVD recording of a statement by Zogaj’s wife, who shows a letter of her deceased husband that accuses the case prosecutor Maurizio Salustro of abusing Agim Zogaj.
Ramis Krasniqi, the lawyer for Behlul Limaj, asked the court not to split the case of his client from the Klecka Case, and to adjourn the trial for a week. But the judge rejected the plea, and decided to continue with the trial .
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