UN urges better protection programme after Kosovo war crimes witness found dead

30 September 2011

An effective witness protection programme is crucial to ensure justice and end impunity regarding human rights violations in Kosovo, the United Nations said today, as it voiced concern that a key witness in a war crimes case was found dead this week.

Agim Zogaj was a key witness in the case against former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) Commander Fatmir Limaj and nine others, who were last month charged with various counts of war crimes allegedly committed in 1999 at a detention centre in the village of Kleçkë/Kleèka.

Mr. Zogaj was found dead in a park in Duisburg in western Germany on Wednesday.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that while the circumstances of his death remain to be confirmed, German police have reportedly said Mr. Zogaj hanged himself.

“While the exact reasons behind his apparent suicide are difficult to ascertain, this case adds to our long-standing concerns about witness protection in Kosovo,” OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.

“We call for an effective and independent witness and victim protection system inside Kosovo to be put in place,” he added.

“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.”

 

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