On 21 February 2023, the trial against Mr. Pjetër Shala will open before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC). Opening statements are scheduled to continue on 22 February.

On 21 February, the Presiding Judge will open the trial, have the charges read out to the Accused, inform him of certain rights and obligations, and ask him whether he has understood the indictment and whether he wishes to confirm his earlier plea of not guilty. After this, the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, Victims’ Counsel and the Defence will each have two hours to deliver their opening statements.

The hearings will be public and can be followed in Albanian, Serbian or English through the streaming page of the KSC website (https://www.scp-ks.org/en/streaming) with a 45-minute delay, or from the public gallery at the premises of the court. More information about the hearing schedule can be found on the court calendar (https://www.scp-ks.org/en/calendar).

To attend the hearing from the public gallery, pre-registration is required.

To pre-register, please send an email to [email protected] with your name, citizenship, date of birth and passport or ID number, subject line “OpeningShalaTrial”.

Media are kindly asked to provide a scan of their press card and to indicate whether they wish to follow the hearing from the public gallery or from the media centre.

The deadline for pre-registration for the hearing on 21 February is Thursday, 16 February at 16:00, for the hearing on 22 February, the deadline is Friday, 17th February at 16:00.

Please note that your place is only confirmed once you have received a confirmation email. Confirmation emails will be sent on Thursday afternoon (16 February) and Friday afternoon respectively after 16:00.

Journalists who would like to record the hearing from the media centre can do so, and are also kindly asked to pre-register.

The audio-visual recording of the opening statements will be made available as soon as possible on the KSC webpage and YouTube Channel.

Summary of Charges

Mr. Shala is charged on the basis of individual criminal responsibility with four counts of war crimes:

  • arbitrary detention,

  • cruel treatment,

  • torture, and

  • murder.

The crimes are alleged to have occurred between approximately 17 May 1999 and 5 June 1999 against persons detained at the Kukёs Metal Factory in Albania, allegedly used by the KLA.

Case History

The initial indictment against Pjetër Shala was confirmed on 12 June 2020 and a corrected confirmed indictment was filed on 1 November 2021. 

Mr. Shala was arrested on 16 March 2021 in Belgium and transferred to the Detention Unit of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers on 15 April 2021.

His initial appearance took place on 19 April 2021 before the Pre-Trial Judge, Nicolas Guillou. He pleaded not guilty to all counts of the confirmed indictment. 

On 21 September 2022, the Pre-Trial Judge transmitted the case file to Trial Panel I. The trial preparation conference was held between 18 and 20 October 2022.

So far, eight individuals have been admitted as victims participating in the proceedings. The application process for victims to apply to participate in the proceedings remains open. Persons who can demonstrate that they have suffered physical, mental or material harm as a direct result of a crime alleged in the corrected confirmed indictment can still apply to participate in the proceedings. This may include both individuals who were directly subjected to harm and individuals who indirectly suffered harm, for example, because they were in a close relationship with a direct victim who was allegedly killed or injured.

For more information, please visit the KSC website www.scp-ks.org and the case page.

Specialist Chambers