Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

In the “Veterans” case, four brigade commanders describe how the KLA veterans’ status is confirmed.

By triji Feb 29, 2024

On February 28, 2024, five more witnesses gave testimony in the “Veterans” legal proceeding at the Court of Pristina.

In this process, accusations are made against Agim Çeku, Nuredin Lushtaku, Sadik Halitjaha, Shkumbin Demaliaj, Qelū Gashi, Shukri Buja, Ahmet Daku, Rrustem Berisha, Faik Fazliu, Smajl Elezaj, Fadil Shurdhaj, and Xhavit Jashari.

They are charged with breaking the law and the rules set forth by the Governmental Commission for the Recognition and Verification of the Status of Veterans of the Kosovo Liberation Army, allowing others to profit illegally by enabling and recognizing the status of KLA combatant veterans.

Afrim Buzolli was called as a witness and admitted to having been a soldier in the 141st Brigade of the Shala Operational Area of the Kosovo Liberation Army.He claimed to have been 17 years old at the time.

“I remained in the KLA until the conflict was over. I had weapons because I was a soldier. “My weapon operated on its own,” the witness stated.Witness Buzolli admitted that he had misrepresented his age to the KLA in order to be allowed to fight there.

“When I first showed there in July 1998, they rejected me because I was sixteen years old. The deputy commander then informed me that the new age will be called. In order to be admitted into the KLA, I pretended to be 19 years old and showed up every two weeks in the 4th Battalion until I was 17 years old,” the witness Buzolli stated.

Four brigade commander witnesses testified during the session in addition to him.First to speak was Mehmet Ballazhi, who is currently the mayor of the Municipality of Han i Elez and served as Brigade 162’s deputy commander in the Operative Zone of Nerodime during the conflict.

He asserted that he participated in the veterans status verification procedure and that he bears accountability for each signature he provided.

The accused, Shkumbin Demalija, questioned the prosecutor Valdet Gashi as well as any other members of the Commission about possible meddling in his work.The witness stated that although he cannot recall it, “he did not get the impression that anyone was involved” in this.Accused Shukri Buja also asked witness Ilmi Ramusholli, commander of Brigade 161 in the Operative Zone of Nerodime, similar questions.Shukri Buja, the commander of the Operative Zone of Nerodime, asked, “In the chain of command of the brigade, is the commander of the area involved in the verification or did he put any kind of pressure on you?”

The witness responded, “No, we’re not disturbed; we got instructions from the secretariat.”Selami Neziri, the former commander of Brigade 173 in the Karadak Operational Zone, was the following witness.The same said that he did not study the applications’ contents at all during the verification process because he was jealous.

“There were about 400 applications, one by one I only read the names and surnames but not the content, since in the first applications I read there were some who were engaged in the KLA earlier than me and out of jealousy I didn’t I read the contents again” – the eyewitness stated.Finally, witness Milaim Limoni, a staff member of Brigade 172’s Karadak Operative Zone, was heard.

Limoni acknowledged being aware of the verification processes and attested to having been given permission to take part in them since, in his words, the Brigade commander was experiencing health issues.Under the direction of Gazmend Bahtiri, with members Ngadnjim Arrni and Kushtrim Shyti, the court is handling the “Veterans” case at the Department of Serious Crimes.The Court of Appeal referred the case for retrial on March 24, 2022, and the retrial’s first hearing took place on October 31, 2023.

Recall that following the Foundation’s decision to acquit the accused in this instance, the Appeal had reset the case to zero so that it might be tried again.Under the leadership of Agim Çeku, the Special Prosecutor’s Office has been accusing 12 individuals of abuse of office since 2018.

These accusations stem from their time serving on the government commission responsible for recognizing and validating the status of the nation’s martyrs, invalids, and veterans.Agim Çeku and other individuals are charged with willfully neglecting their responsibilities and abusing their position as Government Commission members to enrich themselves.The indictment claims that the Commission members have consistently permitted and acknowledged the status of veteran to others in order to profit unlawfully from this status, in violation of both the law and the rules set forth by the Commission itself.

Since the prosecutor who had looked into the veterans’ file had departed Kosovo, the case had generated a great deal of public discussion.Elez Blakaj, a former prosecutor, responded to the release of the 12 defendants by saying that it was deliberate because he believed that only half of the evidence had been presented.”It occurred as anticipated! The outcome could not be different in a legal proceeding where the public has not been shown or given access to even 1% of the relevant information, where the case is being purposefully and persistently distorted, and where attorneys with “extraordinary military experience” are representing practically every side, according to Blakaj.

By triji

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