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Krasniqi's lawyer: A witness said that he remembers that Rugova referred to the KLA as a "Serbian game"

Aiden Ellis

Aiden Ellis, defender of Jakup Krasniqi in the case against him and other leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army in the Hague process, said that they heard a witness recently say that he remembers that President Ibrahim Rugova said in the media that the Liberation Army of Kosovo (KLA) was a "Serbian game".

"We heard a witness say that he remembers Rugova being quoted as saying that the KLA was a Serbian game," Ellis said.

However, Austrian diplomat Jan Kickert, who is continuing his testimony on Wednesday in The Hague, has stated that he does not remember such a thing, reports "Oath for Justice".

Attorney Ellis, who is continuing to cross-examine Kickert, focused on the summer of 1998 when, as part of foreign diplomacy, the witness was making efforts to contact KLA representatives to form a platform of Kosovo Albanians who to be involved in negotiations.

Ellis has said that there were statements from members of the Democratic League of Kosovo saying that the KLA was "part of the Serbian army".

"There was a statement from the LDK by some members of the LDK who said that the KLA did not exist as a part or was part of the Serbian army, maybe," said Ellis.

After that, the witness said that it was possible for such words to exist because the Albanian population was afraid of losing the political monopoly that the LDK had.

"Not that it didn't exist because I don't remember this, but as I tried to explain yesterday, there was a kind of political game, if I could say so, and there was a kind of approach that in the Albanian population there was a fear of losing the political monopoly that there was the LDK and therefore other words could circulate", said the witness.

Before that, the witness stated that some of the members of the LDK denied the existence of the KLA.
"Some of the members of the LDK denied the existence of the KLA, this is true", said the witness.

The Austrian diplomat said that from the middle of 1998, he understood that Jakup Krasniqi had the position of KLA spokesperson. Whereas, before he was appointed, the witness said that Bardhyl Mahmuti was in this position.

"It was Bardhyl Mahmuti, he was a spokesperson who worked in Geneva, but I still don't believe that he ever reported before the contact group," said the witness.

The witness affirmed that Ramë Buja and Jakup Krasniqi were LDK officials before joining the KLA. Meanwhile, in the meeting he had with the accused, the former Austrian diplomat said that he was introduced by name.

"Mr. Krasniqi didn't have a nickname and we were just speculating what number he might have," said Kickert.

During his testimony, Kickert stated that he was contracted by the now chairman of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj.

"Ramush Haradinaj created a party after the war and contacted me and told me, don't contact only Mr. Thaçi, I am also an important person," said witness Kickert.

However, the witness said that in that meeting he had with Krasniqi and other members of the KLA, he did not believe that the accused could now make decisions.

In the notes that the witness took from the meeting with Jakup Krasniqi and others, he wrote that someone had told him 'never accept Milazim Krasniqi's list to be discussed'.
For this, the witness stated that the KLA was denying the fact that Milazim Krasniqi was the leader of the Albanian platform in Kosovo, as he was considered close to Rugova.

"Yes, the KLA, through our interlocutors, were denying the fact that Milazim Krasniqi would be the leader of this platform in Kosovo because he was considered very close to Rugova", he said.
The Austrian diplomat added that Jakup Krasniqi had spoken about this, but without excluding others.
"As far as I remember, Jakup Krasniqit spoke about speaking. He was the spokesperson. I cannot say with a percentage who spoke and what percentage of the meeting, but Jakup Krasniqi was one of the speakers at this meeting", he said.

The Office of the Specialized Prosecutor, on September 30, 2022, submitted the confirmed and amended indictment against Hashim Thaçi, Kadri Vesel, Jakup Krasniqi and Rexhep Selim, which consists of ten counts, charging them with war crimes and crimes against humanity.  

On April 29, 2022, the Office of the Specialized Prosecutor submitted an amended indictment against Hashim Thaçi, Kadri Veseli, Rexhep Selim and Jakup Krasniqi, where it is claimed that the four accused also committed war crimes in Gjilan, Budakovo and Semetishte.

On November 9, 2020, in their first appearances, Jakup Krasniqi and Hashim Thaçi pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. Veseli stated the same in his appearance on November 10, as did Rexhep Selimi on November 11.

The indictment against Hashim Thaçi, Kadri Veseli, Rexhep Selimi and Jakup Krasniqi was confirmed on October 26, 2020. /BetimipreDrejteşi