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Kosovo war crimes suspect slams 'Gestapo' court

At first trial in The Hague's Kosovo Specialist Chambers

15 September, 13:20
(ANSA-AFP) - THE HAGUE, 15 SET - A former Kosovo rebel commander compared a war crimes court to Nazi Germany's secret police as it began its first trial in The Hague on Wednesday.

Salih Mustafa is accused of murder and torture at a makeshift Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) detention centre during the 1998-1999 independence war with Serbia. "I am not guilty of any of the counts brought here before me by this Gestapo office," Mustafa, 49, said as his trial started at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. Wearing a black hooded top and jogging pants, Mustafa swung in his chair and repeatedly tapped a pen on his fingers as he listened to the opening of the trial through headphones.

Mustafa, who was arrested last year while working as an adviser at Kosovo's defence ministry, is the first suspect to go on trial at the court, set up in 2015 to probe atrocities by the separatist KLA. Prosecutors said Mustafa and his men "brutalised and tortured" fellow ethnic Kosovo Albanians whom they accused of collaborating with Serbs in Zllash, a village east of the capital Pristina. "These were not enemies of Kosovo, they were not spies," senior prosecutor Jack Smith told the court in his opening statement. (ANSA-AFP).

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