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Bringing justice to victims of international crimes

Fatmir Limaj

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.

On 18 February 2003, Limaj was arrested in Slovenia. He was transferred to the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) on 4 March 2003.

PROCEEDINGS IN FRONT OF THE ICTY                                                           

The Prosecutor of the ICTY, issued an indictment against Fatmir Limaj, Isak Musliu and Haradin Bala on 24 January 2003, Fatmir Limaj being hierarchically superior to both of the other accused persons.

On 12 February, the ICTY Prosecutor amended the Indictment by detailing the individual charges leveled against each of the accused.

The Indictment was kept confidential in order to facilitate the arrest of these three individuals.

At initial appearance on 5 March 2003, Limaj pleaded not guilty to all of the charges brought against him.

Fatmir Limaj was  charged on the grounds of his individual criminal responsibility (Art 7 § 1 of the Statute) and for his responsibility as superior (Art. 7 § 3 of the Statute) for:

- 5 counts of crimes against humanity (Art. 5. of the Statute: torture; inhumane acts; murder),

- 5 counts of violations of the laws or customs of war (Art. 3. of the Statute: cruel treatment; torture; murder).

His trial began on 15 November 2004 before the Second Trial Chamber of the ICTY. Fatmir Limaj was tried at the same time as Haradin Bala and Isak Musliu.

On 30 November 2005, Fatmir Limaj was acquitted on all charges. The judges ordered that he be released as soon as the practical arrangements could be made. Limaj was released the following day.

On 29 March 2006 the Prosecution filed a motion of appeal against the acquittals of Fatmir Limaj and Isak Musliu. An appeals hearing was held on 5 and 6 June 2007.

On 27 September 2007 the Appeals Chamber upheld the acquittal of Fatmir Limaj.


On 19 July 2008, Serbia’s War Crimes Prosecutor announced that he had launched an investigation against Fatmir Limaj, become in the meanwhile a prominent politician in Kosovo. He is one of 28 former members of the KLA investigated for their alleged involvement in the murder of 22 people during the conflict in 1998. Limaj and the others belonging to KLA's 121th Brigade allegedly illegally detained 35 Serbs and Albanians and murdered 22 people in Lipljan, Stimlje and Glogovac in Kosovo. The Prosecutor of the War Crimes Chamber  held that those crimes were not included in the ICTY`s indictment against Limaj.

On 16 March 2011 Fatmir Limaj, together with other 8 suspects, was arrested pursuant to an order issued by the District Court of Pristina, operating under the European Union supervision, in the framework of the EULEX mission in Kosovo (hereineafter, EULEX Court). Limaj and the others were suspected to have committed war crimes against the population of Serbian origin in the Klecka camp of detention, in Kosovo, during the 1998-1999 war.

On 2 September 2011 the EULEX Court confirmed the indictment against Limaj. On 22 September he was placed under house arrest. The trial proceedings against him started in early November 2011. On 21 March 2012 the Court declared that the statements and diaries of Amir Zogaj, former subordinate of Limaj found dead in late 2011 in Germany, were not admissible as evidence.

On 2 May 2012 the EULEX Court acquitted from all charges Fatmir Limaj and the other defendants in the Klecka case.

On 20 November 2012, Kosovo's Supreme Court annulled the verdict hold in May 2012 and ordered a retrial for war crimes.

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

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