Ex-KLA Commander Selimi Pleads Not Guilty in The Hague

Former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commander and chief of caucus of Vetevendosje, Rexhep Selimi, has pleaded not guilty to war crime charges during the Initial Appearance before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) in The Hague, said GazetaExpress on Wednesday.
The indictment against Selimi was confirmed on October 26, 2020. He was arrested by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office on November 5, 2020 and transferred to the Detention Facilities of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague on the same day.
The indictment charges Selimi under various forms of criminal responsibility, with war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law. Selimi’s lawyer told the pre-trial judge that he will appeal the decision to keep his client in detention, asking his release pending trial.
In the meantime former head of the OSCE Verification Mission in Kosovo, William Walker said that ex-Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) leaders are unjustly being prosecuted in the Hague, adding that their goal was liberation of their country.
In his comments in an interview with EuroNews Albania he said the term terrorist cannot be used to label the KLA, but it can be applied for Serbian military and paramilitaries.
“The KLA is as its name represents it. The KLA was a group of youngsters, who did not endure the oppression and war crimes committed by the Belgrade government. They took up weapons to defend their villages and families and as a result the war erupted,” Walker said.
"I find it strange to use the word terrorist to describe the KLA. The word terrorist might be applied to Serbian army, police and paramilitaries, people like Arkan and his groups of militias who committed terrible crimes in Kosovo,” Walker stated during the interview.