Kosovo’s former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj arrived in Pristina on Thursday, after the Hague Tribunal, ICTY, provisionally released him pending the final verdict in his retrial.
|People waiting Haradinaj ar Pristina airport I Photo by BIRN|
Haradinaj was met at the Pristina International Airport “Adem Jashari” by the EU Rule of Law Mission to Kosovo, EULEX, police.
Around 20 people gathered at Pristina's airport to greet Haradinaj when he arrived from the Hague. However Hardinaj, escorted by EULEX police, slipped out unnoticed by using an alternate gate, leaving well-wishers to watch departing vehicles from the distance.
At the request of the ICTY, EULEX will assist the Tribunal in monitoring the conditions of Haradinaj's provisional release.
Among the tasks that EULEX police will carry out are: escorting Haradinaj to and from Pristina airport, meeting him once a week and keeping a hold of his travel documents.
According to local media, the court decided on Tuesday that Haradinaj should be released after spending two years in the detention centre in Scheveningen.
The prosecution and the defence teams have until June 11 to present their closing arguments to the court.
Ramush Haradinaj, Lahi Brahimaj and Idriz Balaj were returned to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, for a partial retrial after the prosecution convinced an appeals judge that it had not been given sufficient time to hear the evidence from two key witnesses.
The prosecution argued that Hardinaj and Brahimaj had been found not guilty because witnesses were “threatened and blackmailed” and could not deliver objective testimonies.
In 2008, Haradinaj and Balaj were acquitted of all charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity following a three-year trial. Brahimaj was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for cruel treatment and torture.
The trio in the case, known as Haradinaj et al, were previously indicted on charges related to the murder, kidnap, torture and rape of Serbs, Roma and Albanians between March and September 1998.
During the conflict in Kosovo, Haradinaj was a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, Balaj was the commander of the Black Eagles Unit within the KLA, and Brahimaj was a KLA member stationed in the force’s Jabllanice headquarters in the western Gjakove municipality.
Haradinaj, 43, was indicted in 2004 while serving as Kosovo’s Prime Minister and voluntarily surrendered to the Tribunal. The leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, has received widespread political support in Kosovo.