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Press Release

Supreme Court orders retrial in narcotics and organized crime case

8 August 2012

A mixed panel of three EULEX judges and two Kosovo judges, presided by a EULEX judge at the Supreme Court annulled the verdict of the District Court of Prishtinë/Priština against Smajl Gashi and sent the case back for retrial.

The Supreme Court annulled the first instance judgment ex officio and sent the case back to the District Court of Prishtinë/Priština for confirmation of the indictment and retrial, due to serious violations of the criminal procedure. The Supreme Court in particular ruled that the Kosovo Code on Criminal Procedure does not provide any competence to the confirmation judge to shorten proceedings and cut off the main trial stage by issuance of a judgment at the end of the confirmation phase, even if a guilty plea agreement exists like in the case at hand. Therefore the appeal of the defence was not considered in the merits and set aside since it only challenged the decision on punishment.

The Supreme Court, in a separate ruling, extended the detention on remand against Mr. Gashi until 7 October 2012 and ordered the District Court of Prishtinë/Priština to decide on further extensions of the detention.

Smajl Gashi is accused of having managed and controlled a group of persons trafficking heroin between Kosovo, Austria and Switzerland. He is charged with unauthorized purchase, possession, distribution and sale of dangerous narcotic substances, and organized crime.

The case is being handled by a EULEX prosecutor.