Conviction of Gjelosh Krasniqi

Gjelosh Krasniqi, a member of the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), was sentenced on 29 April 2009 to seven years of imprisonment for a war crime against civilian population committed during the armed conflict in Kosovo in 1999. The court proceedings conducted before the Peć/Pejë District Court Trial Chamber presided by Judge Gjanfranco Gallo was fair, but the sentence was inadequately mild in comparison with the gravity of the crime committed.

On the basis of the evidence presented, the Trial Chamber determined that on 24 March 1999, the accused Krasniqi lead a group of four armed and uniformed members of KLA, who arrested a Kosovo Albanian by the name of Pashk Luliu in the village of Doblibare/Doblibarë, Đakovica/Gjakovë Municipality, and took him away to an unknown site. Every trace of Luliu, who was a member of the local police in Đakovica/Djakovë, has been lost ever since and his fate has not yet been resolved.

HLC – Kosovo would like to remind that the probative procedure in this case was characterized by changes made in statements given by key Prosecution witnesses in comparison to their statements given in the pre-trial proceedings. These are the Prosecution witnesses, including the victim’s son, who identified the accused as the perpetrator of the crime in the pre-trial proceedings. However, during the main hearing they changed their statements claiming that they do not even know the accused. With this regard, HLC – Kosovo supports the decision of the court to use the possibility prescribed by the law [Article 156 Paragraph 2 of the Kosovo Provisional Criminal Procedure Code] to found the sentence on witness statements given in the pre-trial proceedings and statements of police investigators and interpreters, who were present when the statements had been given. However, bearing in mind the gravity and the manner in which the crime was committed (the victim was taken away from his family house in front of all family members), HLC – Kosovo believes that the conviction imposed was too mild for the perpetrator.

HLC – Kosovo evaluates that the trial was efficiently and dynamically conducted. During the main hearing that began on 11 March 2009, nine days of trial were held and 17 witnesses were examined, including several victims/witnesses. Family members and relatives of the disappeared Luliu were among the witnesses.
The Peći/Pejë District Court Trial Chamber comprised of the presiding judge Gjanfranca Galla, EULEX judge Ferdinando Bautier De Mongeot and Kosovo Judge Osman Cucović.