Simmons: EU mission in Kosovo politically handled KLA cases

Malcolm Simmons, former head judge of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), accuses EULEX that the cases the mission heard against former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) members were subject to political interference.

While waiting for the Kosovo Parliament to schedule a hearing on his claims against EULEX, Simmons talked to Exit News claiming that Charles Smith, former President of the Assembly of EULEX judges, based his decision-making on political considerations.
 
In an email that Exit News has seen, Smith asks Simmons that the case against former KLA commander turned politician, Fatmir Limaj – informally known as the “Kleçka” case – be scheduled for trial “asap.”
 
In his email sent on January 2013, Smith states that the request comes for a number of reasons, “mainly political.”
 
“I hope that you can get this case up and running quickly,” he also wrote.
 
EULEX submitted the indictment on the Kleçka case in 2011 and the trial started in January 2012, relying mainly on the testimony of the key witness Agim Zogaj who committed suicide while under the protective custody of EULEX in Germany.
 
After Limaj was acquitted in 2012, the Supreme Court of Kosovo ordered a retrial and Limaj was sent to detention.
 
Fatmir Limaj and nine other co-defendants (ex-KLA fighters) were charged with war crimes, for torturing Albanian and Serb civilians and prisoners in the Kleçka detention center throughout 1999.
 
The case was closed in May 2017 when the Supreme Court of Kosovo issued a verdict acquitting Limaj of war crimes charges.
Contacted by Exit News to comment on Simmons’ allegations, EULEX stated that its judges and prosecutors were autonomous and independent and conducted their prosecution and adjudications based on the law.
 
Regarding Simmons’ claims, which EULEX describes as “one-sided and uncorroborated,” the mission says that Malcolm Simmons “refused to cooperate with an investigation team led by a retired judge of the European Court of Justice, which was established to investigate alleged breaches reported by him.”
 
“When provided with the opportunity to substantiate his various allegations, Mr. Simmons failed to provide the investigation team with any evidence to support his allegations,” EULEX’s written answer reads.