Five ex-guerrillas accused of abusing Serb and Albanian prisoners at the Kosovo Liberation Army’s Klecka jail during wartime insisted they were innocent of war crimes.
In their closing statements in the high-profile Klecka case on Tuesday, defence lawyers for the five men, who are on trial with five others including former KLA commander and Kosovo Democratic Party MP Fatmir Limaj, said they were not guilty.
The lawyers for Arben Krasniqi, Naser Krasniqi, Nexhmi Krasniqi, Behlul Limaj and Naser Shala urged the court to acquit them of all charges of abusing Serb and Albanian civilians and Serb prisoners of war at Klecka during the 1998-99 conflict in Kosovo.
“Arben was wounded and unconscious in hospital… how was it possible for him to serve at the Klecka prison?” said Fehmie Gashi-Bytyci, the lawyer for Arben Krasniqi, in her final statement.
Albanian civilians suspected of collaboration with the Serbian regime, Serbian civilians and Serbian police and military personnel were allegedly detained at Klecka, which according to the indictment also served as a detention centre for KLA soldiers investigated or sentenced for disciplinary offences.
Last week, the prosecution made its closing statement which was mainly based on the diaries and statements of Agim Zogaj, known as ‘Witness X’, who was a guard at the Klecka prison but was found dead in a park in Germany in September 2011.
However the defence lawyers also cast doubts on Witness X’s reliability.
“His statements are false and untrue and, as such, not credible. The evidence of Witness X has to be assessed as inadmissible,” Mahmut Halimi, lawyer for Nexhmi Krasniqi, told the court.
Meanwhile Bajram Tmava, the defence lawyer for Naser Shala, questioned whether experts called to give evidence were credible, citing a graphologist who analysed the Witness X diaries.
“Even the graphologist said, ‘It might have been that the diaries were written by someone else,’” Tmava said.
Limaj and the other defendants were initially acquitted of the charges last year but the prosecution successfully appealed against the verdict and the case was sent for a retrial.
The ex-commander turned politician has again denied the charges.
The verdict in the case is expected on September 17.