In special letters to the Appeals Chamber, the Prosecutor made the same request in relation to the appeals of the other accused KLA chiefs – Kadri Veselji, Jakup Krasniqi and Redzep Selimi – against the decisions confirming their detention.
In their appeals, their lawyers requested that the Appeals Chamber of three judges change the first-instance decisions of the pre-trial judge, which rejected the requests for their clients to be released temporarily.
In all responses to these requests, the prosecution recalled that the judge had correctly determined that there were risks that they would escape, commit new crimes, influence witnesses and obstruct proceedings.
– The judge’s decision correctly applied legal standards, the risk assessment was properly individualized, and other specific risk factors were properly weighed – the prosecution states and points out that “no condition (which the court would impose on the accused for release) sufficiently reduces the identified risks “.
In relation to Thaci’s lawyer’s requests, the prosecutor specifies that “faced with an abundance of evidence demonstrating the risks posed by the accused, the defense only repeats intermittent and unconvincing previous arguments without demonstrating any noticeable error in the judge’s decision.”
As for the guarantees and conditions offered by Thaci’s defense counsel for the termination of detention, the prosecution reminds that the judge explicitly considered all alternatives to detention in the decision, which would mitigate the perceived risks.
– Detention in a third country does not affect the scope of Thaci’s words, and proposing conditions that limit phone calls and public statements do not take into account the reality behind the judge’s consideration. The primary way in which the accused will be able to intervene or commit further crimes is to send messages to his former subordinates and supporters – the prosecution believes.
Thaci’s previous posts, interference efforts, climate of intimidation and other identified factors, according to the prosecution, show that his private conversations represent a potentially “uncontrollable risk”.
The prosecution’s response in detail on 20 pages responds to each of the objections of Thaci’s defense attorney, British lawyer David Hooper, and requests that his appeal be rejected as unfounded.
Lawyer Hooper also described in detail on 22 pages two key grounds for the appeal, in which he explains why he believes that the pre-trial judge, who issued the first-instance decision, made “a series of serious mistakes”.
A three-member court panel, consisting of judges Michel Picard, Kai Ambos and Nina Jorgensen, will decide on the appeals of all four defendants.
Thaci and the others were arrested in early November 2020. He had previously resigned and surrendered to The Hague tribunal.
All four former KLA chiefs have been charged with a number of war crimes and crimes against humanity and are charged with crimes across 40 places where people have been unjustifiably deprived of their liberty, tortured and killed, and face up to life in prison.
The indictment of the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office of Kosovo alleges that the crimes charged against them were committed between March 1998 and September 1999 at the latest in several places in Kosovo, as well as in Kukes and Cahan, in northern Albania.
According to the indictment, the acts were committed by KLA members against hundreds of civilians and persons who were not active participants in the hostilities.
Thaci, Veselji, Selimi and Krasniqi bear individual criminal responsibility, according to various forms of criminal responsibility, for crimes committed in the context of the non-international armed conflict in Kosovo, which were part of a widespread and systematic attack on persons suspected of being against KLA.
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