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Kosovo Court Reduces Prison Term for Witness Tampering

A special court in Kosovo on Thursday commuted the prison sentences of two former rebels who were convicted of threatening witnesses to war crimes during their war of independence with Serbia in the 1990s.

An appeals judge in The Hague reduced the sentences given to Hysni Gucati and Nasim Haradinaj in May 2022 by three months, reducing their respective sentences to four years and three months.

Gucati, head of the Veterans Association of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), and his deputy Haradinaj, were convicted last year of revealing the names of hundreds of witnesses they termed “traitors, spies and collaborators.” received.

A Kosovo specialized court on Thursday upheld the conviction on three counts of intimidation and breach of court confidentiality, but acquitted on two counts of obstruction of justice on appeal.

“Given the findings of their investigation, the appeals panel by majority vote commuted the sentences of Mr. Gucati and Mr. Haradinay,” said presiding judge Michele Picardo.

The EU-funded court operates under Kosovo law but is based in the Netherlands to protect witnesses from intimidation in Kosovo, where the former KLA commander has long dominated political life. There is

War crimes charges have been brought against several senior members of the KLA, an Albanian guerrilla group that fought for independence against Serbia in 1998-1999.

In December, a court handed down its first actual war crimes verdict in December, handing out former rebel commander Salih Mustafa, who ran a makeshift torture center, to 26 years in prison.

The Kosovo War, which killed 13,000 people, ended when Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic’s forces withdrew after an 11-week NATO bombing campaign.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade does not recognize it and encourages the Serb majority in northern Kosovo to defy Pristina’s authority.

https://www.expatica.com/nl/general/kosovo-court-shortens-jail-terms-for-witness-tampering-510411/ Kosovo Court Reduces Prison Term for Witness Tampering

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