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Mitrovica District Court Rejects U.S. Extradition Demand

Pristina, 16 July 2010

A panel of three EULEX judges has rejected a U.S. extradition request for Bajram Asllani dated 2 June 2010 on suspicion of committing the criminal offences of “Providing Material Support to Terrorists” Title 18 U.S.C. Section 2339A and “Conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim, or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country” Title 18 U.S.C. Section 956.

The Mitrovica District Court rejected the case on several grounds. Among them, it questioned the current validity of the Extradition Treaty of 21 October 1901 signed between the United States and the Kingdom of Serbia.

Secondly, even if the treaty was valid, it would not provide for the requirement to extradite its own citizens. Thirdly, the criminal offence of “providing Material Support to Terrorists” is not listed in the 1901 treaty as a criminal offence therefore there are no grounds for Asllani’s extradition, the judges ruled.

Fourthly, according to Article 517 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Kosovo, a resident of Kosovo can only be transferred if the offence is not committed in Kosovo. In this case Asllani allegedly agreed with Hysen Sherifi to have jihadist videotapes depicting a suicide bomber attacking the U.S. convoy of vehicles translated from English into Albanian made in Kosovo.

Fifth, the panel found that the US request did not sufficiently demonstrate that there were well grounded suspicions that Asllani had committed the charged criminal offences.

Note: A summary of a ruling is provided below:

The panel rejected the request because the legal prerequisites /Constitution Art. 35 Paragraph (4), CPCK Articles 533 and 517 Paragraphs (2) and (7)/ for the transfer of Asllani are not met.

1, To allow extradition of a Kosovo citizen the Constitution Article 35 Paragraph (4) and the CPCK Article 533 requires the existence of a valid international agreement (treaty). The validity of the Extradition Treaty of 21 October 1901 between the US and Kosovo is questionable as discussed in details in the Ruling. However, even if it was valid a) it would not provide for the requirement to extradite own citizens and b) the criminal offences for which Asllani’s extradition was requested are not listed in the 1901 Agreement.

2) The exchange of Diplomatic Notes between the US and Kosovo on extradition of Asllani does not constitute an international treaty (does not reach that level), it contains merely arrangements for transfer of Asllani.

3) The criminal offences in question have territorial link to Kosovo therefore the precondition under Article 517 Paragraph (2) is not met.

4) The well grounded suspicion that Asllani have committed the criminal offences is not sufficiently demonstrated in the request, therefore the precondition under Article 517 Paragraph (7) is not met.