wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07PRISTINA793 2007-11-26 13:43:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Pristina
Cable title:  

KOSOVO: ALBIN KURTI'S TRIAL RESUMES

Tags:   PGOV KJUS KCRM EAID KDEM UNMIK KV 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO5394
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHPS #0793/01 3301343
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 261343Z NOV 07
FM USOFFICE PRISTINA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7833
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1340
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK PRIORITY
RHFMISS/AFSOUTH NAPLES IT PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR TF FALCON PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEPGEA/CDR650THMIGP SHAPE BE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUFOANA/USNIC PRISTINA SR PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 PRISTINA 000793 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR, EUR/SCE, DRL, INL, AND S/WCI, NSC FOR BRAUN,
USUN FOR DREW SCHUFLETOWSKI, USOSCE FOR STEVE STEGER, OPDAT
FOR ACKER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/23/2017
TAGS: PGOV KJUS KCRM EAID KDEM UNMIK KV
SUBJECT: KOSOVO: ALBIN KURTI'S TRIAL RESUMES

REF: A. PRISTINA 112

B. PRISTINA 164

C. PRISTINA 453

D. PRISTINA 705

Classified By: CDA Alex Laskaris for reasons 1.4 (B) AND (D)



1. (C) SUMMARY: Vetevendosje/Self-Determination Movement
(SDM) leader Albin Kurti's trial resumed on November 15. The
atmosphere, again, was circus-like, with Kurti trying to make
political statements and the presiding judge repeatedly
yelling at him to "get to the point" and "move on." It
started late, and was quickly recessed because defense
attorney Ibrahim Dobruna, who had been named only the night
before, failed to show. The three-judge panel the returned
belatedly from the recess with a new defense attorney, Fazli
Balaj, in tow. The proceeding was interrupted shortly after
it resumed thanks to three new motions from Kurti and Balaj,
on which the judges had to rule before moving on to the
substance of the main trial. At one point, they seemed
poised to lift Kurti's house arrest altogether, but his
refusal to promise the court that he would present himself at
further proceedings convinced them otherwise. The trial
resumes on December 4. In the meantime, from a previous
ruling, Kurti's house arrest has been eased. END SUMMARY.

Background



2. (SBU) Vetevendosje/Self-Determination Movement (SDM)
leader Albin Kurti's main trial on charges stemming from the
violent February 10 SDM demonstration began on September 19
(reftel), but was quickly recessed when Kurti made a motion
to dismiss the international three-judge panel. On October
10, the Pristina District Court rejected that motion. Kurti
went before the court again on November 9, and they extended
his house arrest until January 11, 2008 and determined that
his main trial would resume on November 15. The defense
attorney immediately filed a request to terminate the house
arrest, and another detention hearing was scheduled for
November 14. At that hearing, the international three-judge
panel relaxed Kurti's house arrest, permitting him to leave
his home from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. each day except on days
when his main trial is in session.

Kurti's main trial finally resumes



3. (C) Kurti's main trial finally resumed on November 15, in
a small, but packed Pristina courtroom. The atmosphere was
slightly better than that of September 19, but still
circus-like, with Kurti trying to make political statements
and Presiding Judge Maurizio Salustro repeatedly interrupting
and yelling at him to "get to the point" and "move on."
Judge Salustro called a recess almost immediately so the
judges could try to reach court-appointed defense attorney
Ibrahim Dobruna, who had failed to show up for the
proceedings. Dobruna had been named the defense attorney the
day before, but, according to Prosecutor Eli Koppel
(protect), had submitted a letter saying he would only
represent Kurti if Kurti wanted him to do so. (Note: Kurti
has said from the beginning that he will not accept a defense
attorney appointed and paid by UNMIK. End Note.

New defense attorney materializes and new motions quickly
follow



4. (SBU) Much to everyone's surprise, the three judges
returned belatedly from the recess with a new defense
attorney, Fazli Balaj, in tow. As soon as he was given the
floor, Kurti made a motion to dismiss the international
three-judge panel, citing their disrespectful behavior from
September 19 onward and alleged irregularities, including the
reading of a new indictment at the start of the September 19
proceedings (reftel). Kurti said he had a right to know the
charges against him and informed Judge Salustro that he had
never received the new indictment. Salustro seemed confused
at first, but Prosecutor Eli Koppel reminded him of the new
indictment and the fact that the prosecution had neither

PRISTINA 00000793 002 OF 003


filed it nor requested that it be merged with the first
indictment. At that point, Balaj jumped in, saying he was
surprised by the new indictment and the fact that he had not
been informed of additional charges against his client.
Judge Salustro said it was all a misunderstanding and that
everyone should forget about that indictment. He explained
that the September 19 indictment had never been confirmed and
that Kurti was only being tried for the charges contained in
the confirmed indictment which served as the basis for the
main trial that began on September 19.



5. (SBU) Kurti also complained that he had not been informed
of the trial eight days prior to its resumption as provided
for in the Provisional Criminal Code of Kosovo (PCCK). He
said he had only learned of it six days earlier at the
detention hearing. Balaj jumped in again, this time asking
the judges to lift Kurti's house arrest. Kurti then piped up
and told the judges that he did not accept Balaj as his
attorney. Koppel, who seemed open to allowing Kurti to
represent himself, joined the fray, asking Salustro to
clarify whether Balaj's role should be interpreted as that of
"a zealous advocate (for Kurti) or a stand-by counsel to
protect the defendant's rights." Salustro brusquely informed
Koppel that the three-judge panel "doesn't give guidelines."
He then pressed Kurti to see if he agreed with Balaj's motion
to lift the house arrest order. Kurti calmly reminded
Salustro that his motion to dismiss the three-judge panel
came before Balaj's motion. After a heated discussion, Kurti
finally responded that he in fact wanted to be released
immediately. Salustro then ordered everyone oQ/TQ summoned everyone
back into the courtroom and informed Kurti that his motion to
remove the three-judge panel was denied and that his
objection to receiving only six days notice of the trial
resumption was unfounded. Judge Salustro explained that the
three-judge panel's behavior was justified by the fact that
it had a "duty and responsibility" to "control the hearing
and regulate the discussion." He also pointed out that
Kurti's reading of the PCCK regarding the eight-day notice
had been incorrect. He said it only called for eight days'
notice of the opening of the trial, not subsequent sessions.
He also noted that the intent was to give the defense ample
time to prepare and that Kurti had known since September 19
that he would have another day in court.



7. (SBU) Judge Salustro then turned to the question of
lifting Kurti's house arrest. He said "off-the-record" that
he was inclined to do so if Kurti agreed to show up in a
timely manner for all future proceedings. Kurti defiantly
replied that it went against his principles to promise the
court anything. He also seized the moment to complain about
the fact that Judge Salustro had just ruled on his own
behavior. Just as the three-judge panel seemed poised to
uphold their earlier decision based on Kurti's refusal to
cooperate with the court, Balaj jumped in and urged them
again to lift the house arrest order. Judge Norbert Koster
interrupted and offered Balaj some "off-the-record" advice,
pointing out that he was actually doing a disservice to his
client since Kurti had indicated that would not show up for
future proceedings. Judge Koster explained that as soon as
Kurti failed to appear in court, the police would be
compelled to arrest him and put him in jail, which would be
much worse than house arrest with an opportunity to leave
home for nine hours a day. Balaj persisted, but Judge
Salustro finally denied the motion and upheld the November 14
house arrest decision.



8. (SBU) The actual main trial finally got underway in the
early afternoon, leaving the prosecutor little time to go

PRISTINA 00000793 003 OF 003


through the indictment and advance his case. The court
finally adjourned until December 4.



9. (C) COMMENT: The court's pandering to Kurti's antics and
its willingness to relax the house arrest order, particularly
in the face of Kurti's defiance, remain baffling. As much as
Kurti would like to politicize the trial, the charges are
that he instigated violence on February 10 that led to the
death of two individuals. We will continue to follow the
proceedings, but are not optimistic that the actual charges
will take center stage.
LASKARIS