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Witnesses in Kosovo Ex-Guerrilla’s Trial Accuse Prosecution of Using ‘Fabricated Evidence’

Witnesses told the war crimes trial of former Kosovo Liberation Army member Pjeter Shala in The Hague, that the case against him was based on ‘fabricated’ evidence ‘gathered by the Serbian regime’.

Time Kadrijaj, MP for the Kosovo opposition Future Alliance of Kosovo, AAK, and a former member of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, told the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in the Hague on Friday, in the war crimes case against Pjeter Shala, that the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, SPO, had accused KLA leaders of crimes using “fabricated evidence” from Serbia.

Testifying as a witness in the trial, Kadrijaj told the court that current trials of former KLA leaders at the Hague are “unjust because we have seen they are (based on) facts that are fabricated and gathered by the Serbian regime to accuse the heads of the Kosovo Liberation Army”.

“For me, they are liberators and continue to be liberators,” she told the court.

Kadrijaj, the seventh defence witness in the trial, when asked about previous cases when KLA operational zone commanders were sentenced by Kosovo domestic courts, said: “If they have committed a crime, the sentences have been pronounced and they answered to justice.”

The previous witness, a former MP of the opposition Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, Safete Hadergjonaj, told the court on Wednesday that the accused were “our liberators,” also claiming that “they came here with fabrications done by the Serbian secret service”.

The charges were “politically motivated, Serbia is continuing a special war against Kosovo,” she said, claiming she was also invited to testify “based on a false testimony, that I realized today here at the Hague, because I did not know why I am here”.

Hadergjonaj told the court that she heard about Pjeter Shala only after he was arrested, so “when I received the invitation from the court and saw I would testify for Pjeter Shala, it was surprising and ridiculous because this was a person I had never seen before in my life.”

She noted that, differently from the claims of SPO documents that placed her in Kukes in Albania during the Kosovo war as a nurse, she had “never been in Kukes”.

Shala is accused of direct involvement in the arbitrary detention, cruel treatment, torture and murder of prisoners held at the Kukes Metal Factory.

According to the prosecution, 18 people were detained, interrogated and abused at the factory roughly between May 17, 1999 and June 5, 1999. The victims, mostly Kosovo Albanians but also some Roma people, were allegedly detained for collaborating with Serbia or opposing the KLA.

Shala has pleaded not guilty to all charges. His lawyer has argued that the case against him is “based on hearsay”.

Source : Balkan Insight