The trial against Thaçi and others, another 104 witnesses will be called to testify

In the case of the former leaders of the KLA, another 104 witnesses will be called to testify, says the Spokesperson of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague, Michael Doyle. According to him, the trial process is in the middle and it is not known when it will end. Regarding the complaints about the delay of the process, he considers that the judges are committed to ensure that the procedures are fast.

Michael Doyle stayed in Prishtina on Wednesday, where he informed journalists about the judicial proceedings in The Hague.

In the interview for KosovaPress, he talks about the progress of the trial against the former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

“On the 6th of May, the presiding judge provided an update on the number of witnesses who have testified so far. So it was 60 witnesses then, actually now it’s 68 witnesses as of today who have testified live in court and an additional 45 witnesses whose testimonies have been submitted in writing and admitted into evidence by the court. The judges in this case have also been asking the parties about ways to further expedite the proceedings to ensure that they’re not just fair but also expeditious. The prosecution has estimated that it will be calling its witnesses to testify until April of 2025, and a lot of the activity in the courtroom lately has also been discussions about the pace of the witness testimony, how many witnesses are remaining” he declares.

The Spokesperson for the Specialist Chambers says that the exact number of witnesses who will be invited for interview is not known, but mentions that the prosecution has recently said that they plan to also interview more than 100 witnesses.

“Earlier this week, the prosecution said they intend to call another 104 witnesses and also in recent filings they have said they will offer possible changes to their witness list in October of this year. So we’re 13 months into the process and we’re in the middle of the prosecution’s process of presenting its witnesses… That’s difficult to say precisely. At the start of the case the prosecution was asked to give an estimate of the number of witnesses. The initial estimate was over 300, that was then reduced to about 190 in total, which is what was said in court, and now the most recent information is again that about 68 witnesses have testified live, 45 witnesses have given their written testimony and the prosecution has recently said that they plan to call another 104 witnesses to testify in court”, he adds to KosovaPress.

In the interview for KosovaPress, Doyle emphasizes that it is difficult to determine when the trial will end in the case against the former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

“It’s very difficult to estimate the overall trial time because once the prosecution finishes with their case, then the defense teams will have the opportunity to seek the dismissal of charges and pending any outcomes of that, then the defense teams would begin calling their own witnesses to testify on behalf of the accused, and we don’t yet know how many witnesses the defense will call.” he points out.

The former Speaker of the Assembly of Kosovo, Kadri Veseli, has requested that the process be fair. In one of the sessions of the Specialist Chambers in The Hague, he said that the trial should take place in a reasonable time and in accordance with the Constitution of Kosovo.

However, Spokesperson Michael Doyle says judges are committed to ensuring speedy proceedings.

“What I can say is that over the last year the judges of the trial panel have been taking steps, including organizing special hearings, issuing orders or adopting certain measures in order to ensure that, or with the aim of ensuring that the trial proceeds as expeditiously as possible. So in February the judges called a special session to hear about how essentially the presentation of the SPO case could be expedited through actions by both of the parties. So what I would say is that the judges are very much committed to ensuring that the proceedings are as expeditious as possible” he concludes.

The trial of the former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army began on April 3, 2023. The former leaders of the KLA are being tried for alleged war crimes and have been held in the detention center in The Hague since November 2020.