Kosovo: The Hague Tribunal might postpone announcing the decision on Thaçi, Veseli indictment

Kosovo: The Hague Tribunal might postpone announcing the decision on Thaçi, Veseli indictment

The 6-month period available to Pre-Trial Judge Nicolas Guillou to confirm or reject the 10-point indictment filed by the Office of the Special Prosecutor against President Thaçi has already expired. Thaçi and PDK leader Kadri Veseli are being prosecuted for a series of crimes during and after the war.

The Specialized Chambers in The Hague have decided not to say at this time whether the charges against Thaçi and Veseli have been substantiated. As the head of the Public Information and Communication Unit at the Specialized Chambers, Angela Griep, announced about two weeks ago, that this indictment, like the others, can be confirmed, but not made public immediately.

Until an indictment is made public, it remains confidential, along with its review procedures. The pre-trial judge, depending on the specifics of the case, has up to six months to decide whether to reject or confirm the indictment. At the same time, the rules provide for certain scenarios that could lead to a confirmed indictment for its publication no later than six months after its submission”, the response of the Special Chambers states.

In the rules of procedure of the court, there are rules according to which the pre-trial judge in some cases may order that the confirmed indictment not be published for a while.

One of the provisions of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence before the Special Chambers clarifies that in some cases, the publication of the indictment may be postponed.

“In special circumstances, if before the confirmation of the indictment, the Special Prosecutor presents valid reasons, for security reasons, to prevent the escape of the accused, or for the disruption of the proceedings or to prevent social unrest, the judge before the trial, inter alia, may temporarily order non-disclosure of the indictment, documents or information related to the indictment until a second warrant is issued. However, the indictment shall be made public, if necessary by elaboration, no later than the first appearance of the accused”, says Rule 88, entitled “Public Status of the Indictment”.

President Thaçi did not comment on the indictment, while the last person from the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) to be asked about it was MP Mrrim Lushtaku at a press conference on Saturday.

“We are the Democratic Party of Kosovo, we do not interfere in justice, this question is not for me, but for the competent bodies”, Lushtaku said.

Meanwhile, lawyer Arianit Koci said on Saturday that Hashim Thaçi’s and Kadri Veseli’s basic human rights were being violated by the Special Court, which did not say anything about the indictment against them.

“Neither the slightest respect for the people of Kosovo, for the figure of the President of Kosovo, nor for Hashim Thaçi as an individual, with the fact that the Specialized Chambers do not provide information on what is happening with the indictment filed on April 24, 2020”, Coci posted on Facebook.

“The six-month deadline has expired! An entire nation is being held hostage! On the other hand, sir, Mr Thaçi’s human rights are being brutally violated”, Koci wrote, adding that the tribunal loses credibility in this manner.

On April 24, the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) filed a ten-point indictment with the Kosovo Special Chambers (SPC), for which Hashim Thaçi, Kadri Veseli and others are charged with a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, enforced disappearances, persecution and torture.

The indictment alleges that Hashim Thaçi, Kadri Veseli and other suspects were responsible for about 100 illegal murders. The crimes presented in the indictment filed by the Special Prosecutor include hundreds of recognized victims of Kosovo Albanians, Serbs and Roma, as well as political opponents.

In a press release, the Special Prosecutor said that the indictment is the result of a long investigation and proves his determination that he can prove all the accusations that were presented./ibna