News 09 Jan 13

Kosovo Strengthens Witness Protection

Kosovo has agreed to do more to ensure witnesses’ safety after repeated international calls for better protection.

Edona Peci

The European Union’s rule of law mission in Kosovo, EULEX, and Kosovo’s interior ministry sealed an agreement on Tuesday to cooperate on witness protection.

The agreement was signed by EULEX chief Xavier de Marnhac and Kosovo’s interior minister Bajram Rexhepi, but no further details were given about the content of the document or the specific measures envisaged.

“The memorandum was drafted in accordance with the Law for Witness Protection which went into force on September 1, 2012,” said EULEX spokesperson Blerim Krasniqi.
Kosovo has often been criticised by international organisations and local groups for failing to protect witnesses’ security effectively.

Concerns were further raised after the mysterious suicide of Agim Zogaj, the so-called ‘Witness X’ in the trial of former Kosovo Liberation Army commander Fatmir Limaj and nine more ex-KLA fighters accused of war crimes against Serbs and Albanians at the Klecka detention centre in 1999.

Zogaj was the main witness in the case until he was found dead in September 2011 in Duisburg, Germany.

The case was sent to retrial and is expected to resume at the end of January.

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