On 19 April 2021 at 15:00, the Initial Appearance of Pjetër Shala will take place in the courtroom of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) in The Hague.

Pjetër Shala (“Mr Shala”) was arrested on 16 March 2021 by the Belgian authorities and transferred to The Hague on 15 April 2021, on the basis of a request for cooperation in the execution of an order for arrest and transfer from the Kosovo Specialist Chambers.

The confirmed indictment alleges that Mr Shala is responsible, under various forms of individual criminal responsibility, for the war crimes of arbitrary detention, cruel treatment, torture and murder committed in the context of and associated with a non-international armed conflict in Kosovo. The alleged crimes with which Mr Shala is charged took place between approximately 17 May 1999 and 5 June 1999 against persons detained at the Kukёs Metal Factory (Albania) allegedly used by the Kosovo Liberation Army. The public redacted version of the confirmed indictment can be read here.

The Initial Appearance of Mr Shala will be a public hearing. During an Initial Appearance, the Pre-Trial Judge ensures that the rights of the Accused, including the right to legal representation, are respected, and that the Accused understands the charges against him or her. The Initial Appearance can be viewed online in Albanian, English and Serbian with a short delay at https://www.scp-ks.org/en/streaming

The hearing can also be followed from the public gallery of the courtroom on the premises of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague. In addition, the KSC has a dedicated media centre on its premises from which journalists can work and follow proceedings with a short delay.

Due to measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, seating in both the public gallery and the media centre will be very limited and pre-registration is required.

To pre-register, please send an email to [email protected]  by Friday, 16 April 2021 at 16:00. The email should include full name, date of birth, citizenship and passport/ID number, affiliation (e.g. general public, accredited diplomat, NGO/civil society) any other relevant details. Journalists should also provide the name of media outlet, location where you are based, as well as a scan of your press card. We will inform you as soon as possible whether there is space available. We ask for your understanding given the limitations imposed by public health considerations in response to COVID-19.

More details about visiting the KSC, including information about COVID-19 measures, can be found here.

Specialist Chambers