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Fatmir Limaj

Acquitted
On 30 November 2005, acquitted on all charges by the ICTY; motion of appeal filed by the Prosecution on 29 March 2006; acquittal upheld by the Appeals Chamber on 27 September 2007; Acquitted on 2 May 2012 from charges of war crimes by the EULEX District Court of Pristina. Retrial ordered on 20 November 2012.
Commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army

Fatmir Limaj, alias Celiku, was born on 4 February 1971 in Banja, which was situated at the time in the municipality of Suva Reka, in the autonomous province of Kosovo.

In early 1998, after years of increasing tension and violence, armed conflict broke out in Kosovo between Serb forces and “Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës” (UCK), known in English by the name of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

Serb civilians, just as with Albanian civilians who were perceived by the KLA either as refusing to cooperate with or resisting them with non-military means (and often described as “collaborators” by members of the KLA), were targeted for intimidation, imprisonment, violence and murder.

At the time the crimes were allegedly committed (May to August 1998), Fatmir Limaj was a commander in the KLA. In this function he was responsible for the district of Lapusnik (Llapushnik) and for the running of the Lapusnik (Llapushnik) prison camp under the control of the KLA, and situated in the municipality of Glogovac (Gllogoc) in Kosovo. By virtue of this position, his responsibility as hierarchical superior was taken into account.

The International Criminal Tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia (ICTY) indicted Fatmir Limaj, acting individually or in concert with other members of a joint criminal enterprise, for having participated in the joint criminal enterprise in the following ways:

- he commanded, controlled, directed and otherwise exercised effective control over the other participants in the joint criminal enterprise and over the operation of the Lapusnik (Llapushnik) prison camp,
- he planned, instigated, and ordered the arrests of Serb civilians and perceived Albanian collaborators,
- he planned, instigated, ordered and personally participated in the enforcement of the detention of Serb civilians and perceived Albanian collaborators at the Lapusnik (Llapushnik) prison camp and incited others to do so.
- he planned, instigated, ordered, and personally participated in the interrogation of Serb civilians and perceived Albanian collaborators at the Lapusnik (Llapushnik) prison camp,
- he planned, instigated, ordered, and personally participated in the brutal and inhumane treatment, physical and psychological assault, torture, and beatings of Serb civilians and perceived Albanian collaborators imprisoned at the Lapusnik (Llapushnik) prison camp,
- he planned, instigated, and ordered the murders of Serb civilians and perceived Albanian collaborators imprisoned at the Lapusnik (Llapushnik) prison camp,
- he planned, instigated, and ordered the murder of ten Albanian civilians in the Berisa (Berisha) mountains on or about 26 July 1998,
- he planned, instigated, ordered and personally participated in efforts to keep the existence of the Lapusnik (Llapushnik) prison camp, and events that occurred there, secret by ordering detainees not to divulge any knowledge of the Lapusnik (Llapushnik) prison camp on penalty of death,
- he instigated, aided and abetted in these crimes by consistently failing to prevent, investigate or punish crimes committed by his subordinates against Serb civilians and perceived Albanian collaborators, as well as by the example of his own participation in such crimes.

All of the acts, or failures on the part of the accused to prevent them, were indicative of the existence of a large scale, systematic plan to attack the Serb civilian population and those Albanian civilians who, according to the KLA had either refused to cooperate or had resisted the KLA by non-military means

On 18 February 2003, Limaj was arrested in Slovenia. He was transferred to the ICTY on 4 March 2003.

Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Fact sheet

Albania 04.02.1971 Çeliku 05.1998  - 08.1998 15.11.2004
War crimes
Protection of civilians
22.11.2012
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