The defence for former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said the prosecution clearly relied on Serbian intelligence reports to support its claims that the former KLA commander committed war crimes.
On the third and final day of the closing arguments against former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj and two ex-Kosovo Liberation Army fighters, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Ibrahimaj, the defence reiterated claims that the evidence presented by the prosecution does not support their allegations.
Balaj’s lawyer, Guy Smith, cited a report that had been presented as evidence, which claimed that any Albanians on the territory controlled by the defendants, who did not support the KLA, were executed.
“The fact that the prosecution used two Serb intelligence reports to support their claim that Albanians who did not support the KLA were killed shows how partial the prosecution has been in this case,” Smith said.
Haradinaj, Ibrahimaj and Balaj were returned to the ICTY for partial retrial after the prosecution convinced an appeal judge last year that it had not been given sufficient time to hear the evidence of two key witnesses.
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.
The defence teams of Balaj and Brahimaj presented a list of witnesses which had been drawn up by the prosecution, arguing that the witnesses needed to be examined carefully, as the focus of their testimony was mostly the wartime reputation of their clients.
“Witness 75 is a proven liar. He lied about his brother, he used his brother’s death to further a fraudulent asylum application. In dealing with the most important matters, he had no compunction, no concerns, about not telling the truth. He used the corpse of his brother to achieve his own goals. And you are asked to rely on his testimony in this case,” Smith said.
Brahimaj’s attorney, Richard Harvey, questioned the integrity of Witness 18. According to the lawyer he, unasked, had exposed his connections to Serb forces by telling the court that he was spotted during the war getting into a tank in Gjakova.
Harvey asked the court to analyze the statements of the witnesses, since he claims that Witness 18 picked up the memoirs of Witness 3.
“Both of these witnesses have had the opportunity to rearrange their statements. There is every reason to say that this represents a theft of each other's wartime experiences,” Harvey told the court in his closing arguments.
On Monday, the ICTY prosecutor, Paul Rogers, told the court that the three suspects had the authority to prevent crimes being committed in the Jabllanica detention camp, but had encouraged KLA soldiers to kill the prisoners at the camp instead. The prosecution asked for 20 years in prison for Haradinaj.
The presiding judge, Bakone Justice Moloto, is expected to announce the verdict in approximately two months.