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Questions and answers regarding the “Klecka” case

  1. Why has the Klecka case been reopened?

    After the District Court of Pristina split the Klecka case in two and pronounced the verdicts, the EULEX special prosecutor filed appeals against both judgments.

    On 20 November a mixed panel of three EULEX judges and two local judges, presided over by a EULEX judge at the Supreme Court, reviewed the appeal of the EULEX Special Prosecutor against one of the verdicts and ordered a retrial against four individuals in the Klecka case. The appeal against the second verdict is awaiting review by the Supreme Court as well.

    The panel partially granted the appeal of the EULEX Special Prosecutor and annulled the verdict of the first instance court which acquitted Fatmir Limaj, Nexhmi Krasniqi, Naser Shala and Naser Krasniqi. The defendants were charged, among other things, with war crimes against the civilian population and prisoners of war. The panel also ruled that the evidence of Agim Zogaj, also known as “Witness X”, was admissible.

  2. Why were the four defendants arrested and detained, four days after the Supreme Court decision?
  3. Already in the Supreme Court session the prosecutor filed an application for imposing detention on remand against these four defendants. The defendants and their defence counsels were informed about the content of the application. However, the Supreme Court ruled that imposing detention on remand in this situation (when at the same time annulling an acquittal verdict of first instance and sending the case back for retrial) by the Supreme Court was not foreseen by the law. In other words, the court said it could not decide on this matter. The prosecutor then filed his application at the District Court of Pristina. The presiding judge granted the application for detention on 24 November.

  4. What is EULEX’s reaction to the statements that it acted secretly when arresting the four defendants?
  5. There was nothing secret about these actions. The prosecutor’s intention to ask for detention against the four defendants in the Klecka case was not a secret. This intention was made public on Tuesday during the Supreme Court session. This was a hearing open to the public. The Supreme Court decided that it could not deal with the issue of detention at the same time when deciding on the first instance judgment, as it was not foreseen by law. Therefore the prosecutor filed the request for detention at the District Court.

  6. What is the legal basis for the detention on remand of the four accused?

    The presiding judge, giving reasons for his decision to order detention on remand, considered grounded suspicion that the accused committed the crimes they were charged with, the risk of flight and the risk of tampering with evidence existed in respect of all accused in view of the fact they were charged with very serious alleged criminal offences, and the fact that evidence from a protected witness had been ruled admissible by the Supreme Court earlier this week.

  7. Why was detention deemed necessary now?

    The court considered that the circumstances had changed since the Supreme Court decision ordering a retrial and declaring the evidence of Agim Zogaj as admissible. At the time when this evidence was inadmissible, there was no fear of the defendants tampering with evidence. Now that Agim Zogaj’s evidence is admissible, the court considered that tampering with evidence that could corroborate the statements of Agim Zogaj was a possibility. The admissibility of Agim Zogaj’s evidence also increases the risk of flight according to the reasoning given by the presiding judge. Detention on remand is imposed when certain conditions are met, as was established in this case.

  8. Were EULEX judges politically influenced in their judgments?
  9. Absolutely not, this was a court decision. EULEX judges and prosecutors are completely autonomous and independent and conduct their prosecutions and adjudications based on law. They operate under the principle of the independence of the judiciary and the judiciary is not influenced by any local or international actors or institutions, as a proper separation of powers demands.

  10. Was the Government of Kosovo informed regarding the developments on the Klecka case?

    The judiciary is independent as the proper separation of powers demands. The judiciary has nothing to do with politics and as such, it does not need to inform political actors about judicial proceedings. Any request for such actions would mean political interference.