Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Çeku ‘s Support to War Crimes Perpetrator is Contrary to Respect for the Law and Independent Judiciary

The HLC office in Kosovo expressed its utmost concern due to the Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Çeku’s statements and behaviour surrounding conviction (first instance verdict) of General Selim Krasniqi for war crime committed against civilian population. HLC Kosovo believes that this behaviour is contrary to the principles of the rule of law and independent judiciary, which are the goals of independent Kosovo.

Bearing in mind the fact that, on 10 August 2006, the International Trial Chamber pronounced Selim Krasniqi, Bedri Zymberi and Agron Krasniqi guilty of war crime, unlawful detention and kidnapping of Albanians in the village of Drenovac (municipality of Mališevo/Mlisheve), the Prime Minister Agim Çeku’s visit to the convicted and temporarily released General and his statement that «Kosovo needs men like General Selim Krasniqi» send a message to the public that certain citizens of Kosovo, such as General Selim Krasniqi, are beyond the law and that Kosovo needs them regardless of the fact that they were accused and convicted of war crimes.

The HLC office in Kosovo warns that the Commander of the Kosovo Protection Corps, General Sulejman Selimi, showed to the public by his visit to the convicted General Selim Krasniqi, that this institution supports its members convicted for war crimes, which does not contribute to the process of building democratic institutions in Kosovo in any way.

The HLC points out that such behaviour of the Prime Minister Agim Çeku and the Kosovo Protection Corps Commander seriously violates the rights of victims’ family members – their right to truth and justice for the crimes committed against their closest family members. The HLC would also like to remind the public that the International Prosecutor of the District Court in Prizren filed an indictment against Selim Krasniqi et al in 2004 for war crimes against civilian population, unlawful detention with fatal consequences, kidnapping, and kidnapping with fatal consequences. The trial Chamber presided by International Judge Vinod Boolell pronounced Selim Krasniqi, Bedri Zymberi and Agron Krasniqi guilty on 10 August 2006 and convicted them to seven years of imprisonment each. Due to a lack of evidence, the charges against Xhavit Elshani, Isuf Gashi and Islam Gashi were dropped.