The United States welcomes the verdict in the case against Salih Mustafa, the first case at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers involving war crimes charges. Mustafa, a former commander in the BIA Guerrilla unit of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), was convicted of the war crimes of arbitrary detention, torture, and murder committed at a BIA detention and interrogation site in 1999 and sentenced to 26 years.
As the Trial Panel noted, the decision is not a judgment against the KLA or Kosovo but relates only to the defendant’s individual criminal responsibility. This verdict is a strong step towards helping Kosovo uphold the rule of law and ensure justice for victims. We also commend the bravery of the individual victims and witnesses who came forward and condemn the threats and intimidation that they have faced. Without these courageous individuals, justice would not be possible.