17 March 2011
EULEX can confirm that yesterday (16 March) nine people were arrested in an investigation relating to war crimes. The warrants for arrest were issued by a Pre-trial Judge at the District Court of Pristina. Following the arrests and the individuals’ appearances in court, five individuals were ordered to be detained for thirty days; two individuals were given house arrest and an eighth individual was ordered to appear at a police station three times a week. A ninth individual has been detained in Switzerland. The charges against these individuals relate to murder, torture and violations of body integrity and health of Kosovo Albanian and Serb civilians and prisoners of war in the area of Kleçkë/Klećka in 1999. The investigation is under the supervision of a EULEX Prosecutor from the Kosovo Special Prosecution Office (SPRK).
EULEX can confirm that there is an arrest warrant for Fatmir Limaj. The warrant also relates to the so-called Kleçkë/Klećka case and serious allegations of war crimes. EULEX prosecutors have been in contact with Mr Limaj to discuss his situation as Mr Limaj is a Deputy in the Kosovo Assembly and therefore is entitled to immunity. The issue of immunity is currently being clarified.
Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Everyone is equal before the law. But it is the duty and obligation of independent prosecutors to initiate investigations when serious allegations are made.
EULEX would like to make it clear that the judicial process should be absolutely free from political interference.
The Government of Kosovo has consistently expressed its desire to improve the rule of law in Kosovo. Indeed, the Government has made this a priority. EULEX calls on the Government to continue to respect the basic principles