december 2012 The Hague, Netherlands
Carla Del Ponte has said that there is no doubt that former acting Kosovo Prime Minister Ramus Haradinaj is guilty of war crimes. (October 2007)
Ms. Del Ponte said that the court had faced a lot of difficulties with the United Nations Mission, particularly in connection with the former High Representative's friendship with Ramush Haradinaj, former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army and former Prime Minister of Kosovo. The Tribunal had found it "stupefying" that security had depended on Haradinaj, a war criminal. for the Tribunal's witnesses, there was great concern, and the friendship between [Haradinaj] and the [UNMIK] High representative had had a "chilling" effect.
The Tribunal had had to compel or subpoena a third of the testimony of all the witnesses that had testified. That level of intimidation of witnesses and concern for security had not been seen anywhere else in the region. The friendship with the High Representative had indeed had a chilling impact. It was a serious problem and a huge challenge to the Prosecutor to present her case when witnesses were in such fear that they refused to testify. (December 2007)
Nine witnesses in his case have been killed, three of them were protected witnesses! The Serbian prosecution in court trial against Anton Lekaj (sentenced to 13 years) proved Ramush Haradinaj guilty for war crimes. Defenders of Haradinaj, Baljaj and Brahimaj have not taken a single witness of the defense to the stand considering that unnecessary. The prosecution was unable to bring to the courtroom ten planned witnesses. Nine of them were killed. Even three of the killed witnesses were protected witnesses.
The tenth witness, Ramir Murici after having been shot, refused to take the stand and testify.
Kujtin Berisha was killed by a jeep in Montenegro.
Ilir Seljmaj was stabbed after alleged bar fight.
Bekim Mustafa and Auni Eljzaj were shot dead.
Protected witnesses Dzejdin Musta, Sadrik Murici and Vesel Murici were killed in professionally executed assassinations.
Sabaheta Tava and Isuk Hakljaj, members of Kosovo police were also assassinated and a car with their bodies set on fire.
Some of these nine killed people would have testified in the courtroom about the killings and torture of civilians in Haradinaj's presence.
Until so far about 40 witnesses to KLA crimes from Kosovo and Metohija have been killed.
Ramush Haradinaj was one of the most senior leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the 1998-99 conflict with Serb forces. Haradinaj had overall command of the KLA forces in the Dukagijn operational zone, located to the west of Priština. He was initially indicted on 4 March 2005 while he was Prime Minister of Kosovo – a position he had held since 3 December 2004. On 8 March 2005, Haradinaj resigned as Prime Minister and the following day voluntarily surrendered himself to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Haradinaj was indicted with Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj charged with 18 counts of crimes against humanity and 19 counts of violations of the laws or customs of war for crimes committed by KLA forces from 24 March 1998. The alleged crimes included harassment, deportation or forcible transfer of civilians, imprisonment, torture, murders, rape, abduction and cruel treatment.
On 14 March 2005, Haradinaj pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. On 3 April 2008, the ICTY Trial Chamber I acquitted Ramush Haradinaj of all charges.
The Appeals Judgement in this case was rendered on 21 July 2010.
The Appeals Chamber quashed the acquittal of Ramush Haradinaj and ordered a partial re-trial of the case. An order was issued to bring the accused back to the detention unit.
On 8 December Trial Chamber II granted Ramush Haradinaj provisional release.
On 21 January 2011 Trial Chamber II issued the revised fourth amendment indictment for the partial retrial, dropping the charges of crimes against humanity.
The New York Times...........
The Hague Justice Portal..........