Krasniqi pleaded not guilty
I am not guilty, the indictment is an insult to me and my people, said former KLA spokesman Jakup Krasniqi after the indictment was presented to him.Source: Tanjug
Krasniqi claims that he is not guilty of the charges against him by the Specialized Prosecutor of Kosovo, namely for the numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity of the KLA in the period from March 1998 to September 1999.
"I do not feel guilty or responsible for any of the counts in the indictment, I am not guilty of anything. This is all a great injustice for me. I feel innocent and it is not clear to me why I was brought here," Krasniqi said in his first appearance before a pre-trial judge of the Specialized Chambers of Kosovo based in The Hague.
He previously spoke about the indictment, stating that the accusation that charges him with a joint criminal enterprise (JCE) represents an insult and great injustice.
"It is an insult to me and my family and to our people, because it was an endeavor to create a state and we fought for it for a very long time, together with the United States, the European Union and the United Nations," Krasniqi said.
He claimed that "Serbia and all those who supported the policy of Belgrade" represent JCE.
Noting that he is not responsible for any of the charges against him, Krasniqi pointed out that of all the things he has done in his life, his greatest pleasure has been working as a KLA spokesman because, as he stated, "he was the voice of what we fought for".
He stated several times during the hearing that none of what was stated in the indictment was true and that he would present the opposite facts in the coming days.
He also stated that he fought against Serbia politically and that he never did anything against civilians.
"I am an intellectual, no one has ever handcuffed me or treated me badly, and I am very hurt by this procedure that you are applying here," Krasniqi said, complaining about "the injustice inflicted on him."
Krasniqi said he wanted to defend himself, but that his family insisted on having a lawyer.
He will be in custody until further notice, and the judge taught him that he can file a request for defense from freedom.
He is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity of the KLA between March 1998 and September 1999, along with Hashim Thaci, Kadri Veseli and Rexhep Selimi, who will appear in court later today, and on Tuesday and Wednesday at special hearings.
Krasiqi was arrested last Wednesday, November 4, and on the same day he was extradited from Pristina to The Hague, where he was placed in custody.
Krasniqi is charged with 10 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. These are: 1. persecution on political and / or ethnic grounds, 2. imprisonment, 3. illegal or arbitrary arrest and detention, 4 other inhumane acts, 5. cruel treatment, 6. torture, 7. torture, 8. murder 9. murder, 10. enforced disappearance of persons.
Specialized prosecutor Jack Smith and his assistants also attended this hearing, while Krasniqi's defense counsel participated in the hearing via video link with Kuala Lumpur, because she could not come to The Hague due to the situation with COVID-19.
Krasniqi, like the other three, is charged with both command and individual criminal responsibility for the crimes committed by the KLA in Kosovo and Metohija and northern Albania.
All together are charged with charges written in 10 counts, including 98 murders, 18 known victims of enforced disappearances and more than 416 illegal detentions.
Together with the then, as the prosecutor calls them, members of the KLA General Staff, Hashim Thaci, Kadri Veseli, Rexhep Selimi, Krasniqi was accused of a "joint criminal enterprise" involving other members of the KLA and political advocates of Kosovo's independence to Serbia.
The prosecutor believes that the members of the joint criminal enterprise aimed at gaining and exercising control over the whole of Kosovo, for which they personally or through subordinates used illegal intimidation, harassment, violence and removal of those who were considered to be their opponents.
According to the indictment, these opponents, i.e. their victims, are listed as: persons whom they considered to have cooperated or joined the forces of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), officials or state institutions, then those who did not otherwise supported the goals or means of the KLA, as well as persons of Serbian, Roma and other nationalities.
In order to achieve the goal of the joint criminal enterprise, Krasniqi and others are charged with the crimes described in the indictment, which include persecution, imprisonment, illegal or arbitrary arrest and detention, other inhumane acts, cruel treatment, torture, murder and enforced disappearance.
Other members of the joint criminal enterprise not covered by this indictment included Azem Syla, Lahi Brahimaj, Fatmir Limaj, Sylejman Selimi, Rrustem Mustafa, Shukri Buja, Latif Gashi and Sabit Geci, as well as certain other members of the KLA and political leaders.
Thaci, Veseli, Selimi and Krasniqi are also charged with crimes committed by their subordinates, which are described in detail in the indictment, because, according to the prosecution, they knew that the crimes had taken place or would be committed and did nothing to prevent them.