Trial Panel I of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) has scheduled the pronouncement of the trial judgement in the case of the Specialist Prosecutor v. Salih Mustafa on 16 December 2022 at 9:00 a.m. CET.
The hearing 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 10-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.
Journalists who would like to record the hearing from the media centre can do so, and are also kindly asked to pre-register.
To pre-register, please send an email to [email protected] with your name, citizenship, date of birth and passport or ID number, subject line “Trial Judgment”.
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 is Tuesday, 13 December at 16:00. Please note that your place is only confirmed once you have received a confirmation email. Confirmation emails will be sent on Tuesday afternoon (13 December) after 16:00.
Following the hearing, the spokespersons of the KSC will hold a press briefing at 11:00 am at which journalists can ask questions. Journalists can join the briefing in the press briefing room on the KSC premises or online via Zoom. Any journalists wishing to join the press briefing online should write to [email protected] and we will send you the link.
Summary of Charges
The Specialist Prosecutor charges Salih Mustafa on the basis of individual criminal responsibility and superior criminal responsibility with crimes committed by certain KLA members against persons detained at the detention compound in the village of Zllash/Zlaš, located in the Gollak/Goljak region in Kosovo.
According to the indictment, between approximately 1 April 1999 and around the end of April 1999, Salih Mustafa and certain other KLA soldiers, police, and guards shared a common purpose to interrogate and mistreat detainees at the Zllash/Zlaš detention compound and the common purpose involved the crimes as specified below.
The charges are the following:
FOUR COUNTS OF WAR CRIMES
- Arbitrary detention (Count 1)
- Cruel treatment (Count 2)
- Torture (Count 3)
- Murder (Count 4)
Salih Mustafa was arrested and transferred to the KSC Detention Unit on 24 September 2020. His initial appearance took place on 28 September 2020 before the Pre-Trial Judge, Nicolas Guillou. At his further appearance on 28 October 2020, Mr. Mustafa pleaded not guilty to all counts of the indictment.
The parties, the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) and the Defence, filed (confidentially) the latest versions of their pre-trial briefs on 22 February and 6 May 2021, respectively. On 7 May 2021, the Pre-Trial Judge transmitted the case file to Trial Panel I.
Eight victims participated in the proceedings as a single group, represented in the courtroom by Victims’ Counsel.
The trial commenced on 15 September 2021, with the opening statements of the Specialist Prosecutor and the Victims’ Counsel. The SPO called 14 witnesses. On 4 February 2022, the SPO closed its case.
On 23 February 2022, the Panel denied the Defence motion to dismiss the charges against the accused pursuant to Rule 130 of the KSC Rules of Procedure and Evidence.
Victims’ Counsel presented evidence on 21 March, when one of the participating victims in the case expressed their views and concerns to the Trial Panel.
The Defence case commenced on 22 March 2022. The Defence called 15 witnesses to testify. On 26 May 2022, the Defence of Salih Mustafa notified about the official closure of its case.
On 1 June 2022, the SPO presented its evidence in rebuttal by calling one witness and tendering additional documentary evidence.
On 3 June 2022, the Panel called additional evidence in accordance with Rule 132 of the Rules, namely two expert reports related to the medical assessment of some of the admitted victims in this case.
The evidentiary proceedings in this case were closed on 20 June 2022. On 21 and 22 July 2022 respectively, the parties filed their final trial briefs.
The closing statements of the SPO, Victims’ Counsel and Defence took place from 13 to 15 September 2022.