Kosovo Guerrilla Leaders Accused of Witness-Tampering Ahead of Trial

The Specialist Prosecutor's Office in The Hague released documents this week which accuse former Kosovo Liberation Army chiefs who are now senior politicians, including recently-resigned President Hashim Thaci, of attempting to interfere with potential prosecution witnesses ahead of their impending trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The redacted documents, which date from May this year, constitute a request from the Specialist Prosecutor's Office to the Kosovo Specialist Chambers to arrest the four suspects, transfer them to The Hague and search their property, which eventually happened earlier this month.

The arrest request argues that the four ex-KLA men - Thaci, along with Kadri Veseli, the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), Jakup Krasniqi, a senior figure in the Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA) party, and Rexhep Selimi, the chief of Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) party's MPs in parliament - "wield enormous influence over former KLA members and Kosovo in general".

It accuses the suspects of having "actively facilitated and encouraged a climate of impunity and intimidation" and claims that "there is already evidence of attempts to interfere with SPO [Specialist Prosecutor's Office] investigative activities".

It alleges that "government officials loyal to Thaci and Veseli have presided over corrupt government pay-outs to potential SPO [prosecution] witnesses". Thaci is also accused of indirectly offering "various benefits" to a potential witness in the case.

The attempts to influence potential witnesses "have also included hiring them to government positions", it further alleges.

"In the indictment time period, the suspects were superiors to many of the SPO's potential witnesses. They...

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