Avdi Dinaj

Mitrovica | Date: October 28, 2021 | Duration: 61 minutes

If I am not mistaken, it was March 13, ‘89. After work, I went to my apartment. In the late hours of the night, the former head of the District Court Kapllan Baruti had sent his chauffeur to drive me with his car. I asked the chauffeur, I said, ‘What’s up?’ He said, ‘The Head of the Court wants to see you.’

Kapllan was an extraordinary man, extraordinarily good. He invited me to his office. He said, ‘I am asking you to take on Vllasi’s case…’ he told me this and that and how he is being brought in from Bijeljina, and that they want to start investigative procedures. The prosecutor had already filed the request to start the investigations. Counterrevolution, counterrevolution back then was the highest sentence, 20 years for counterrevolution or death sentence. I know that we discussed it with Kapllan, he said to me, ‘Please take over the investigation.’ I said, ‘Kapllan, I don’t want this case to cost me my job. I will not take over. Until now I never investigated political cases, I don’t want to do it now.’

As the conversation progressed, he said, ‘If you don’t take it over, we have to give it to someone else and lose access to the case.’ I know I said to him, ‘Give it to whomever you like, do whatever you like. Not me.’ […] One request after the other to take on the case, I agreed to do the investigation. […] I started the investigation, I took Azem Vllasi, Aziz Abrashi, and Burhan Kavaja into questioning. Then we broadened our scope of investigation. Fifteen of them were accused.”

Anita Susuri (Interviewer), Korab Krasniqi (Interviewer), Renea Begolli (Camera)

Avdi Dinaj was born in 1952 in Raushiq, Municipality of Peja. In 1976, he graduated from the Law Faculty at the University of Prishtina. A year later, he started working as a judge on the Municipal Court in Mitrovica. From 1985 to 1992, he worked as a judge on the District Court of Mitrovica. Throughout the ‘90s he worked as a lawyer at his private firm. From 2002 until his retirement, he was a judge on the Supreme Court of Kosovo. Currently, he lives with his family in Mitrovica and continues his practice as a lawyer.