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AI INDEX: EUR 70/009/2004     1 April 2004


Serbia and Montenegro (Kosovo)
The legacy of past human rights abuses

1.1.1 Intimidation and assassination of witnesses

In addition to the lack of policing resources dedicated to the investigation of "disappearances" and abductions, the climate of impunity in Kosovo also results from the reluctance of ethnic Albanians to provide information to police investigations, where the perpetrator is believed to be another ethnic Albanian. In part, this is due to the lack of a comprehensive witnesses and victims protection program and a climate of fear. On 4 January Tahir Zemaj was murdered in his car along with his son and cousin by gunmen. He was a key witness in a trial of four ex-KLA members - one of whom is the brother of a leading politician - sentenced in December 2002 for unlawful detention and murder. On 15 April 2003 gunmen similarly shot dead another witness in the trial, Ilir Selmanaj, along with a relative. Both incidents occurred in Peæ/Pejë. Although the murder of Tahir Zemaj and son and cousin occurred in the presence of some 40 people.


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