ISSN 2330-717X

Kosovo’s Fatmir Limaj Under House Arrest

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By Fatmir Aliu

Kosovo’s Former Transport Minister will be placed under house arrest for a month, an international judge decided on Thursday night.

Sources in the EU rule of law mission, EULEX, told Balkan Insight that Limaj’s passport has been seized and that he will be under house arrest for a month.

The decision came after Limaj showed up in court on Friday afternoon to attend a detention hearing that ended a few hours ago.

Kosovo media reported that Limaj’s move was the result of a compromise with the EULEX prosecution so that he did not get arrested.

His lawyer Tome Gashi confirmed that Limaj was at the court.

EULEX’s prosecutor Maurizio Salustro, who is handling the case, was seen entering the District Court at 5pm while Limaj appeared about 30 minutes later.

Limaj’s move came after Kosovo’s Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday that parliamentarians are not immune from prosecution if sought by the law.

The ruling, that came in effect on Thursday, made it possible for the former minister to be arrested. He has been indicted for war crimes allegedly committed at a Kosovo Liberation Army prison during the Kosovo conflict in 1999.

EULEX issued an arrest warrant in March for Limaj, who is currently a member of parliament for the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, which is led by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.

Prosecutors from the EU law mission questioned Limaj in March but did not arrest him.

Limaj, who remains a popular figure in Kosovo, has already faced a war crimes trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY.

He was charged, along with Isak Musliu and Haradin Bala, with committing war crimes against Serbs and Albanians suspected of collaborating with Serbia during the Kosovo war.

In November 2005 the ICTY acquitted him and he returned home to a hero’s welcome, with street celebrations in the capital, Pristina.

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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