ISSN 2330-717X

Kosovo War Crimes Witness To Be Buried Today

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By Fatmir Aliu

The funeral of Agim Zogaj, known as Witness X in the war crimes case against Fatmir Limaj, will be held on Saturday on afternoon in Prizren, the family said.

Agim Zogaj’s body is expected to arrive today in Kosovo, at around 11h a clock with an airplane from Germany, his brother told Balkan Insight on Saturday.

“We expect to pick him up at Prishtina’s Airport at 11 o’clock this morning,” Haki Zogaj said from the airport.

The late man, known better under the coded name “Witness X”, was a key witness in the trial against 10 former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters, including their alleged commander Fatmir Limaj, the former minister of transport, and the vice-president of the ruling Democratic Party.

He was found dead Tuesday night in a park in Duisberg in Germany.

According to the German police, the autopsy showed that Agim Zogaj, committed suicide. The press said that he hanged himself to a tree.

“He had a great burden that lead him to commit suicide. . He did not kill himself, just to kill himself,” says Sahit Zogaj, the older son of the deceased protected witness.

“Witness X” provided key testimonials relating to events alleged to have taken place at the notorious Klecka camp, during the 1999 was in Kosovo, where he reportedly served also as the prison guard. Agim Zogaj, in his 13 testimonies, confirmed to EULEX prosecutors that he took orders from Fatmir Limaj, to execute others, including Albanians and Serbs.

However it now remains unclear whether Zogaj, who was found in Duisberg, a quiet province in western Germany, was ever afforded any witness protection. It is also unclear what Zogaj was doing in Duisberg and how long he was there for.

The family hold EULEX accountable for the death of Agim Zogaj, as it says that their son was taken forcibly from his wife and children, in March this year, as it still questions reports that he committed suicide.

Local and regional civil society actors, also blamed EULEX for failing to protect the witness. Even the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed concern over the case.

The UNHCR spokesperson Rupert Colbille, said that while the exact reasons behind his apparent suicide are difficult to ascertain, this case adds to our longstanding concerns about witness protection in Kosovo.

“We call for an effective and independent witness and victim protection system inside Kosovo to be put in place. Only an effective and well-resourced witness and victim protection system in Kosovo will help render justice to the victims and end impunity regarding past violations” Rupert Colville said.

The EU rule of law mission to Kosovo, said that it feels sorry for the death, and still refuses to talk to the press about the details of the protection Agim Zogaj received.

“We regret the loss of life and our thoughts are with the family and friends…the protection of the witnesses and their safety, are a very delicate issue, and we cannot and will not confirm nor deny any operational detail.” Nickolas Hawton told Balkan Insight.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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