Sabit Januzi and Ismet Bahtjari were arrested yesterday, 5 October 2023, in Kosovo by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, pursuant to arrest warrants, transfer orders and a confirmed indictment issued by a Pre-trial Judge of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers.
Mr. Januzi and Mr. Bahtjari were transferred to the Detention Facilities of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague today, 6 October 2023.
The Specialist Prosecutor’s Office carried out the arrest with the support of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX). Under the Law on Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, police within the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office have the authority and responsibility to exercise powers given to Kosovo police under Kosovo law. The Accused received copies of the indictment in their mother tongue on the day of their arrest.
The Pre-Trial Judge confirmed the indictment against Mr Januzi and Mr Bahtjari on 2 October 2023. The public redacted version of the indictment, as confirmed, is available on the KSC website.
The indictment, as confirmed, states that between at least 5 April 2023 and 12 April 2023, Mr Januzi and Mr Bahtjari individually met with Witness 1 in order to induce Witness 1 to withdraw evidence or refrain from providing evidence in official proceedings before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, including by use of serious threat.
It further states that Mr Januzi and Mr Bahtjari, in co-perpetration with other individuals, coordinated as a group before and after their in-person approaches to Witness 1. This conduct, according to the indictment, demonstrates Mr Januzi and Mr Bahtjari’s intent to intimidate Witness 1 and obstruct official persons, including Specialist Prosecutor’s Office prosecutors and investigators, in performing official duties.
The indictment, as confirmed, charges Mr Januzi and Mr Bahtjari with: (i) intimidation; and (ii) attempting to obstruct by serious threat official persons in performing official duties, both individually and by participating in the common action of a group.
The Initial Appearance of Mr Bahtjari is scheduled to take place on Monday, 9 October at 14:00 in the courtroom of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) in The Hague. The Initial Appearance Mr Januzi is scheduled to take place at 15:15, also on 9 October in the KSC courtroom.
The Initial Appearances will be public hearings. During an Initial Appearance the Pre-Trial Judge makes sure that the rights of the Accused, including the right to legal representation, are respected, and that the Accused understand the charges against them.
The Initial Appearances can be viewed online with a short delay at https://www.scp-ks.org/en/streaming.
The hearings can also be followed from the public gallery of the courtroom at 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.
More details about visiting the KSC to attend a hearing can be found here.