THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Defense attorneys for former leaders of Kosovo guerrillas, such as ex-president Hashim Thaci, stated Wednesday that their trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity can’t start before summer of 2022 at the earliest.
A prosecution attorney told the hearing in the Kosovo Specialist Chambers the trial could commence in the summer of 2021. Prosecutors plan to show evidence from approximately 200 witnesses and 1,500 pieces of documentary proof.
Thaci’s attorney, David Hooper, responded that”a minimum of 18 weeks is necessary before we’d be, I believe, even considering being trial prepared. I find that the suggestion that this case should go to trial in June ridiculous.”
Amid coronavirus constraints from the Netherlands, all defendants and their attorneys appeared in the hearing through video links.
Defense attorneys argued that prosecutors have had years to prepare their indictment and situation, although the defense has only started work after the recent arrests of the suspects and book of the indictments.
Nevertheless, Ben Emmerson, symbolizing Kadri Veseli, sketched the outlines of his shield situation, asserting that previous foreign trials of KLA leaders failed to prove that it was a well-structured fighting force using an undercover plan, called a joint criminal enterprise, to perpetrate crimes.
Rather, Emmerson said, the KLA was a scarcely organized group of part-time fighters who participated in a conflict of self-defense contrary to the well-organized Serbian forces. That absence of business, he explained, means the suspects can’t be held accountable as commanders for offenses perpetrated by person fighters.
A 78-day NATO air campaign against Serbian troops stopped the fighting.
The creation of this Hague-based court and also a special prosecutor’s office followed closely by a 2011 report from the Council of Europe, a human rights body, which included allegations that KLA fighters trafficked human anatomy obtained from prisoners and murdered Serbs and fellow ethnic Albanians believed traitors. The organ-harvesting allegations were not contained in the indictment from Thaci and his co-defendants.