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The defendant was added to an expanded ongoing rape investigation against his associates, charged and convicted of rape in violation of Article 193 of the Criminal Code of Kosovo, and sentenced to three years of imprisonment. Following the Supreme Court’s affirmation of the first instance court’s judgment, the prosecutor filed a Request for Protection of Legality in favor of the defendant, claiming that the court of first instance failed to assess relevant evidence in favor of the defendant and based its decision on evidence which did not meet the requisite standard of “beyond any reasonable doubt.” In particular, the prosecutor argued that the conviction was based on the statement of the alleged victim in court, corroborated only by hearsay, that the victim in the immediate early stages of the police investigation did not claim the defendant had committed any crimes against her, and that her allegations against the defendant were evolving and increasing with time. The prosecutor noted that there was an absence of medical and physical evidence to support the conviction, and the police officers involved were not interviewed. The Supreme Court rejected the Request. The court first repudiated the notion that “beyond any reasonable doubt” was the requisite standard of proof under Kosovar law. It then noted that the hearsay was a direct confirmation that the victim had reported the rape to the witness. The tribunal dismissed the prosecutor’s argument that there was no physical evidence, because of the way the rape was committed – without physical violence as the victim surrendered under threat – it was meaningless to expect any trace of violence to be found. The court also saw no reason to discredit the victim on the basis that the victim only denounced the defendant one year after the commission of the rape, stating that it was “absolutely normal that a victim of rape finds the courage to denounce the aggressor only once the risk of revenge against the denouncer . . . has ceased.” Finally, the tribunal held that the defendant was investigated only at the end of the investigation against his associates, and that the details of the rape increased with time, were features common in many rape investigations and normally had no significance in the assessment of the evidence. (Also available in English.)



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