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Several KLA members sentenced for acts of torture and war crimes

LogoUck(B2) The Mitrovica Basic Court delivered its verdict this Wednesday (May 27) in the “Drenica 1” and “Drenica 2” cases, the European “Rule of Law” mission reported today ( EULEX) in Kosovo.

A very symbolic affair since it involved several members and officials of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK / KLA), then led by Hashim Thaci, who was until the Kosovar Prime Minister (read: Prime Minister Thaci, architect of the crime in Kosovo? Eulex opens the investigation)

Torture and war crimes in KLA detention camp

Around fifteen members and leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) were prosecuted for having committed, between August and September 1998, in the “detention center” of Likoc / Likova, who are " war crimes against the civilian population, in particular through the intentional perpetration of violence, cruel treatment, beatings, torture and humiliating and degrading treatment against Kosovo Albanian civilians » according to the indictment drawn up by the international prosecutor, the American Clint Williamson.

5 people convicted

In the first case (known as Drenica 1), the court found that Sami Lushtaku was “guilty” of murder and sentenced to twelve years in prison and Sylejman Selimi (former commander of the Kosovo security forces and ambassador to Tirana) “guilty ” of war crime for act contrary to common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and sentenced to six years of imprisonment. All other defendants in the case were acquitted and charges dropped because the allegations could not be proven.

In the second case (known as Drenica 2), the court recognized several justified charges: “acts of violence, acts of cruelty, torture, humiliating and degrading treatment” against four defendants. He sentenced Sylejman Selimi to 8 years in prison, Jahir Demaku, Zeqir Demaku and Isni Thaci to 7 years in prison (*). 

The courage of the witnesses hailed

The Prosecutor welcomed this judgment but reserves the right to appeal, after careful consideration”. He also wanted to salute the true courage of the victims and witnesses, who presented their testimony to the Court, despite significant challenges, intimidation and difficulties ».


(*) The Kosovar penal system has a strong influence on Anglo-Saxon law with sentencing by charge and an aggregation of sentences in total. It is the final punishment that is mentioned.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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