Link to the BBC article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-10709093
Tag Archives: Haradinaj
Di fianco al palazzo dell’UNMIK, sulla strada che porta all’aeroporto, di fronte al palazzo del governo e in altri punti altamente simbolici sono apparsi manifesti come questo, tutti in inglese (chiaramente diretti in primo luogo ai tanti espatriati che lavorano a Pristina). I poster celebrano il ritorno in Kosovo di Ramush Haradinaj, familiarmente ‘Ramush’ o ‘RH’ come e’ scritto sui manifesti. Ex capo dell’UCK, ex primo ministro del Kosovo, e ora ex inquisito per crimini di guerra dal tribunale internazionale dell’Aja, RH e’ pronto a tornare in campo. “We need you”, dice uno dei poster (poco importa che sia stato probabilmente finaziato dallo stesso Ramush).
Next to the UNMIK HQ, along the road that connects to the airport, in front of the Government building and in other symbolic and central locations have appeared posters like the one portraited above. They all celebrate – rigorously in English – the return home of Ramush Haradinaj, or simply ‘Ramush’ or ‘RH’ as on the posters. Ex UCK leader, ex Prime Minister, and now ex war criminal (at least for The Hague Tribunal), RH is ready to come back to Kosovo politics. ‘We need you’, says another poster (and it doesn’t matter that it was probably paid by the same RH).
The men who were acquitted may return home as early as Friday, and they are expected to be given a hero’s welcome. But in court, in summarizing their verdict, the judges said that the case presented had many flaws. They cited vague evidence and widespread fear among witnesses, suggesting that the full version of events had not been told.
The complete text of the judgment was not available, but in their summary, the judges gave much weight to the fear and the evident intimidation of witnesses. Lawyers said that in no other case before the tribunal had witness intimidation been so widespread.
The judges said that they had serious difficulties in getting many of almost 100 witnesses to testify freely. They said that they had to permit 34 witnesses to hide their identities from the public, that 18 were subpoenaed because they refused to testify and that others said they dared not talk once they were in court.
The case against Mr. Haradinaj was fraught with difficulties from the start. Western diplomats tried to dissuade Carla Del Ponte, who was the chief prosecutor, from indicting Mr. Haradinaj, arguing that he was a respected political leader who played an important role in stabilizing Kosovo.
Within the prosecutor’s office, some lawyers also had warned that the case against Mr. Haradinaj was weak because it would be hard to link him to the crimes.
Prosecutors complained repeatedly about pressure on the witnesses, saying that those most afraid were former rebel fighters who had been expected to testify as insiders. At least three designated witnesses were killed before the trial, prosecutors said.
In November, the trial ground to a halt when the defense lawyers for all three accused unexpectedly announced that they would not call any witnesses because they considered the prosecution case so weak.
For Serbs, the acquittal of two of the former rebel commanders, whose forces were backed and supported by the West, was likely to be viewed as one more insult.
Kosovo has long been portrayed as a victim of Serbia. Only one other case at the tribunal has focused on the abuses and killings by fighters of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Human rights groups have documented numerous killings and instances of mistreatment of those not siding with the rebels.
Oliver Ivanovic, who represents Kosovo Serbs, told the FoNet news agency in Belgrade that the acquittals would make it even more difficult to demand that the Serbian government arrest Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, wartime Bosnian Serb leaders who remain fugitives.
Serbs will now see the tribunal as even more of a political, rather than a legal, institution, Mr. Ivanovic said. He added, “It will be now very difficult to convince any Serb that this is not an anti-Serb tribunal.”
In Thursday’s ruling, Mr. Brahimaj was sentenced to six years for the abuse of prisoners detained in a camp where he was in charge. It said that he had personally participated in beatings and torture.
Mr. Brahimaj, who has already served three years, is likely to be freed in a year if he gets the usual reduction for good behavior that is common in European countries where he may serve his time.
After Mr. Haradinaj surrendered to the court, in 2005, he was allowed to return to Kosovo to await his trial. Much to the frustration of Ms. Del Ponte, he was treated favorably when the court permitted him to play a limited political role at home, a privilege granted to no other detainee.
It was not clear if prosecutors would appeal.