Prosecution Case in Kosovo Ex-Guerrillas’ Trial ‘Could Take Six Years’

The prosecution's presentation of evidence in the case against former Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and three other former senior Kosovo Liberation Army, KA guerrillas at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague could go on for six-and-a-half years, presiding judge Charles Smith III told a case status conference at the court on Monday.

"The judges' panel estimates that… we would hear around 46 [prosecution] witnesses per year," Smith said.

He explained that as there are 312 prosecution witnesses, "including counter-questions from the defence, it would take six-and-a-half years to finish them".

The testimony of the first 12 witnesses will take 234 hours, "which is more than 35 days in court", meaning that they will be testifying until September or October 2023, Smith said.

The judges called on the prosecution and defence to find ways to reduce the length of the hearings.

The prosecution claimed it had already cut 150 hours of direct questions and removed 11 witnesses. But in order for it to evaluate whether they can further reduce the time that witness hearings will take, the first witnesses must be heard because they will give very important evidence, it insisted.

This evidence includes KLA communiques whose authenticity is being disputed by the defence.

"After we present the first evidence with the first witnesses, we can adjust based on needs the moment we consider [the communiques' authenticity] proved," the prosecution said.

Thaci will go on trial on April 3 alongside Kadri Veseli, a former Kosovo parliament speaker and leader of Kosovo Democratic Party, PDK, Jakup Krasniqi, the former chairman of the national council of the Social Democratic Initiative, NISMA party, and Rexhep Selimi, the former head...

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