News 09 Jan 13

Haradinaj Acquittal is Final, Hague Tribunal Says

There has been no appeal against the decision to quash war crimes charges against former Kosovo Liberation Army commander Ramush Haradinaj.

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY, said on Wednesday that the acquittal of Haradinaj and two other wartime Kosovo commanders, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj, had not been contested.

“This means that from today, the case ‘Haradinaj et al’ is closed,” said ICTY spokesperson Magdalena Spalinska.

According to ICTY procedures, there can be no further retrial.

On November 29 last year, the ICTY ruled that the defendants were not guilty of war crimes committed during the Kosovo conflict in the late 1990s.

The prosecution failed to prove in court that the defendants were part of a joint criminal enterprise to establish KLA control in western Kosovo using detention camps.

The prosecutors had alleged that they had tortured and killed ethnic Serbs, and Albanians who were deemed to have collaborated with Serbs, at a KLA-run camp in the village of Jablanica in 1998.

This was the men’s second ICTY trial, after a first trial in 2008 also acquitted Haradinaj and Balaj of war crimes and crimes against humanity but sentenced Brahimaj to six years in jail for cruel treatment and torture.

However in 2010, the ICTY’s appeals chamber concluded that witnesses had been intimidated and sent the case for a partial retrial, which then in November 2012 acquitted all three former KLA commanders.

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Background

Timeline: Cases for War Crimes in Pec Villages

Timeline of events in the case against 13 former Serb fighters charged with committing war crimes in the villages of Cuska, Zahac, Ljubenic and Pavlan in Kosovo in 1999.

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