- COVID-19: 49 new cases, one death (media)
- EU Police Raid Kosovo War Veterans’ HQ, Arrest Leader (Balkan Insight)
- Kosovo War Cimes Court publishes details after Gucati’s detention at The Hague (media)
- Specialist Chambers to start with hearings on Monday (RTK)
- Thaci: Kosovo has always been on the side of justice (media)
- PDK MP: Friday’s arrests, a humiliating scene (RTK)
- Lajcak: Belgrade – Pristina expert teams meeting postponed (N1)
- Israeli Ambassador to Belgrade: Recognition of Kosovo is a fact (media)
- Kuci and Abrashi meet DFC delegation, discuss projects (media)
- Kosovo veterans leader arrested on witness intimidation charges – tribunal (Reuters)
- EU police arrest Kosovo war veterans’ leader, raid offices (AP)
COVID-19: 49 new cases, one death (media)
Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health announced on Friday that 664 samples were tested during the last 24-hour period of which 46 resulted positive for coronavirus.
Meanwhile, one death and 101 recoveries were recorded over the same timeframe.
Health Minister Armend Zemaj said that considering the recent decline of the number of new infections, he will recommend the Government of Kosovo to ease restrictions put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19.
EU Police Raid Kosovo War Veterans’ HQ, Arrest Leader (Balkan Insight)
Armed EU rule-of-law mission police raided the Kosovo Liberation Army War Veterans’ Organisation and arrested its leader after it urged media to publish leaked files it received from the Hague war crimes court.
Special police units from the European Union rule-of-law mission, EULEX, arrested the leader of Kosovo Liberation Army War Veterans’ Organisation, Hysni Gucati, on Friday amid a raid on the organisation’s offices in Pristina.
The War Veterans’ Organisation’s lawyer, Tome Gashi, said he thought Gucati will be transferred to the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague, which is dealing with cases of crimes allegedly committed by KLA guerrillas during and after the Kosovo war from 1998 to 2000.
“Now the leader of the War Veterans’ Organisation of the KLA, Mr. Hysni Gucati, has been arrested by the EULEX police and will be transferred to The Hague! The raids are continuing!” Gashi wrote on Facebook.
The secretary of the War Veterans’ Organisation, Faton Klinaku, claimed that an investigator from the Kosovo Specialist Chambers was with the EULEX police when they raided the building.
Klinaku also alleged to media that the EULEX police did not have a warrant.
See at: https://bit.ly/369NGXC
Kosovo War Cimes Court publishes details after Gucati’s detention at The Hague (media)
Following his arrest by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office on 25 September 2020, Hysni Gucati was transferred to the Detention Facilities of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague. “An arrest warrant was issued for the suspect for offences against the administration of justice, namely intimidation of witnesses, retaliation and violation of secrecy of proceedings, according to the Kosovo Criminal Code, by virtue of Article 15(2) of the Law on Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, Law No. 05/L 053,”
KSC noted that information about the date and time of the first appearance of Hysni Gucati before the Pre-Trial Judge will be announced in due course.
Specialist Chambers to start with hearings on Monday (RTK)
The Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague announced that the Initial Appearance of Salih Mustafa will take place in the courtroom of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) in The Hague, on Monday, 28 September at 15:00 hours;
“The indictment against Salih Mustafa was confirmed on 12 June 2020. He was arrested by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office on 24 September and transferred to the Detention Facilities of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague on the same day.
The indictment charges Salih Mustafa of individual criminal responsibility for Arbitrary Detention, Cruel Treatment, Torture and Murder, war crimes under international law. The public redacted indictment can be read here.
The Initial Appearance of Salih Mustafa will be a public hearing and can be followed online with a short delay at https://www.scp-ks.org/en/streaming.
The hearing can also be followed from the public gallery of the courtroom on the premises of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague. In addition, the KSC has a dedicated media centre on its premises from which journalists can work and follow proceedings with a short delay.
Due to measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, seating in both the public gallery and the media centre will be very limited and pre-registration is required.
To pre-register, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 noon on 27 September. The email should include full name, date of birth, citizenship and passport/ID number, affiliation (e.g. general public, accredited diplomat, NGO/civil society) any other relevant details. Journalists should also provide the name of media outlet, location where you are based, as well as a scan of your press card.
We will inform you as soon as possible whether there is space available. We ask for your understanding given the limitations imposed by public health considerations in response to COVID-19,” reads the press release.
Thaci: Kosovo has always been on the side of justice (media)
The President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, in a statement after the raids and arrests in the WVO – KLA, said that the citizens of Kosovo and the whole world expect that the Specialized Chambers respond properly, professionally and transparently to monstrous allegations, such as the insinuations about “organ trafficking by the KLA” or the “Yellow House”, that lead to establishment of the Specialized Chambers.
The full statement of President Thaci:
“The citizens of Kosovo and the world expect the Specialized Chambers to respond adequately, professionally and transparently to the monstrous allegations, such as allegations of ”human organ trafficking by the KLA”, or the “Yellow house”, in the name of which we were forced to establish Specialized Chambers .
As the history shows us, the Kosovo Liberation Army was a voluntary movement, part of Kosovo’s civil resistance and struggle for freedom and independence and was recognized as such by the international community.
It was also an example of cooperation with the international justice. Starting with UNMIK justice, The Hague Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, EULEX, the local justice and now the 5th level of Kosovo Post-War Justice – the Specialized Chambers. No interviewee or defendant escaped responsibility to answer to competent judicial authorities.
I emphasize that the recent leak of the files from the Specialist Chambers has violated the legitimacy of the court in the eyes of the citizens of Kosovo, has damaged the image of the State of Kosovo and the rights of potential accused. The publication of the files was unacceptable.
KLA veterans are the most sublime value of resistance for freedom and independence. No trap from anyone can position Kosovo on the opposite side of the justice.
As the Articles which established the Specialist Chambers make it clear, the Chambers were created on the basis of mutual cooperation. The special judiciary is obligated to adhere and function within the Constitution of Kosovo and respect the rights of all.
No potential defendant will escape justice. Assessing that there is no reason for expeditions / raid spectacles, the integrity and dignity of every citizen must be respected.
The whole world knows that Kosovo is a victim. The KLA and the people of Kosovo have faced genocide and ethnic cleansing. Kosovo has always been and will remain on the side of truth, justice, cooperation and international law, committed to building a democratic state, rule of law and a multi-ethnic Kosovo, home to all its citizens.
This is the will of the citizens and commitment of the institutions of the State of Kosovo.”
PDK MP: Friday’s arrests, a humiliating scene (RTK)
Kosovo Assembly MP from the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Blerta Deliu said that Kosovo has always cooperated with international justice and that the manner of yesterday’s arrests was humiliating.
“Kosovo has always cooperated with international justice and has served as an example. Therefore, even EULEX as an enforcer of Special Court orders is already familiar with this fact. “Recent actions in the case of the arrests of former KLA soldiers, which create the impression of an operation in a hostile country, are unacceptable and distorting the factual reality,” she wrote on Facebook.
Lajcak: Belgrade – Pristina expert teams meeting postponed (N1)
The Belgrade and Pristina negotiators won’t meet in Brussels on Monday as planned, and the talks have been postponed for an unspecified time, Miroslav Lajčák, the European Union’s special envoy for the two sides’ dialogue, has said on Friday.
He tweeted the reason was the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Out of abundance of caution related to COVID19, the Dialogue meeting scheduled for Monday next week will be postponed,” reads his Tweet.
Israeli Ambassador to Belgrade: Recognition of Kosovo is a fact (media)
The Ambassador of Israel to Serbia Jahel Vilan, said that recognition of Kosovo by his country is a fact, and part of the Washington Agreement.
“It is true that we are not yet there technically, but the statements of the Prime Minister and our Foreign Minister are a fact. We recognize Kosovo, this is part of the U.S. package of measures while I together with the Serbian leadership will do the utmost to fade impact of that decision on the Serbia-Israel relations,” Vilan said.
Kuci and Abrashi meet DFC delegation, discuss projects (media)
Kosovo’s Minister of Economy and Environment Blerim Kuci and Minister for Infrastructure Arban Abrashi, met the U.S. International Development Finance Cooperation(DFC), Caleb McCarry, Brian Martalus and John Jovanovic.
According to a press release issued by the Ministries, they discussed issues deriving from the 4 September Agreement in Washington.
They specifically discussed the main projects such as the “Prishtina-Merdare” motorway, the “Prishtina-Merdare” Railway with a multimodal station, the Railway to the Adriatic Sea and the Brezovica project.
With the Ministry of Economy and Environment they discussed on the main projects of the energy sector including access to the international gas network, access to renewable energy development projects and options for conventional based energy.
They also discussed coordination in order to involve the private sector as an engine of economic development and DFC support options in this very important sector.
Possible support in the Economic Recovery Program from COVID-19 was also part of the discussions.
Kosovo veterans leader arrested on witness intimidation charges – tribunal (Reuters)
The Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague, set up to prosecute war crimes committed during Kosovo’s 1998-99 uprising against Serbian rule, said a judge had issued an arrest warrant for Hysni Gucati.
Gucati will face prosecution for “offences against the administration of justice, namely intimidation of witnesses, retaliation and violation of secrecy of proceedings,” it added in a statement.
In recent weeks, Gucati and his aides had published dozens of court documents with the names of suspects, witnesses and civilians allegedly murdered during the uprising, which eventually won Kosovo independence in 2008.
Earlier this week the tribunal prosecutor’s office condemned the release of the documents as an attempt to “undermine the proper administration of justice”.
Kosovo veterans leader arrested on witness intimidation charges – tribunal
It said it was committed to “vigorously investigating and prosecuting” people who sought to expose potential witnesses.
Gucati, was handcuffed and bundled into an EU police car by masked officers in Pristina on Friday, witnesses said. There was no immediate comment on the charges from him or the War Veterans’ Association lawyer.
Later on Friday, local television showed EU and Kosovo police also arresting Gucati’s deputy, Nasim Haradinaj.
The Specialist Chamber was set up in The Hague in 2015 to handle cases of alleged atrocities by Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas during the uprising.
Read more at: https://reut.rs/3hYDX8Y
EU police arrest Kosovo war veterans’ leader, raid offices (AP)
European Union security police arrested the leader of a Kosovar war veterans association for obstruction of justice when officers stormed its offices Friday, apparently to get hold of international prosecutors’ files from a war crimes investigation that the association said it received anonymously.
Hysni Gucati was arrested following an arrest warrant and transfer order by a pre-trial judge, according to a statement from the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office at the Hague-based Kosovo Specialist Chambers. The prosecutors were assisted by police officers from the European Union Rule of Law Mission, or EULEX, and local police.
A statement said Gucati’s “arrest warrant was issued for the suspect for offences against the administration of justice, namely intimidation of witnesses, retaliation and violation of secrecy of proceedings.”
The pre-trial judge’s decision said Gucati “made available to the media confidential and non-public information and documents relating to the work of the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, and made no interventions when Nasim Haradinaj mentioned by name certain (potential) witnesses and gave information regarding their place of residence and other personal details … thus exposing these individuals to potential threats to their safety.”
Read more at https://bit.ly/331BWEL