Prosecutors search 35-year jail time period for Kosovo ex-rebel accused of torture By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former Kosovo Liberation Military officer Salih Mustafa, accused of homicide and torture in the course of the 1998-99 Kosovo battle, seems earlier than a particular tribunal set as much as hear instances of conflict crimes allegedly dedicated by the KLA, in The Hague, Netherlan

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Struggle crimes prosecutors referred to as on Monday for a former Kosovo Liberation Military guerrilla commander to be sentenced to 35 years in jail for allegedly operating a “torture chamber” in the course of the 1998-99 independence battle with Serbia.

Salih Mustafa faces fees of homicide and torture over a detention centre in Kosovo the place prosecutors say prisoners, principally fellow Kosovo Albanians who have been political opponents of the KLA, have been overwhelmed and tortured every day.

Mustafa’s indictment says he personally took half in among the beatings and torture of a minimum of six prisoners and was current when one in all them was so badly damage that he later died.

“The reality is (…) sure KLA leaders like Mr Mustafa used their energy to victimize and brutalize fellow Kosovars,” together with political opponents and others thought of not loyal to the KLA, prosecutor Jack Smith advised judges.

Mustafa, 50, has denied the costs and his attorneys have stated prosecution witnesses fabricated their tales.

A verdict within the case is anticipated early subsequent yr.

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers, a Kosovo courtroom seated within the Netherlands and staffed by worldwide judges and attorneys, was arrange in 2015 to deal with instances underneath Kosovo legislation towards former KLA guerrillas.

The courtroom is separate from the United Nations tribunal for the previous Yugoslavia, which was additionally situated in The Hague the place it tried and convicted Serbian officers for conflict crimes dedicated within the Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts.

Greater than 13,000 individuals are believed to have died in the course of the 1998-99 rebellion in Kosovo when it was nonetheless a part of Serbia underneath then-President Slobodan Milosevic. Preventing ended after NATO air strikes on Serbian forces and Kosovo declared independence in 2008, although Belgrade doesn’t acknowledge it.

Latest unrest amongst minority Kosovo Serbs over calls for for them to make use of Kosovo identification paperwork has raised fears of renewed battle between the 2 nations. Some 3,700 NATO peacekeepers proceed to patrol the northern space of Kosovo to forestall violence between ethnic Albanians and Serbs.

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