Friday, April 22, 2005

Lawyers request temporary release of Kosovo's former premier indicted for war crimes

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - Defense lawyers for Kosovo's former prime minister filed a motion with the U.N. war crimes court in The Hague requesting his temporary release, his legal team said in a statement Friday.

The request was presented on Thursday and the prosecution, which has charged Haradinaj with 37 counts of war crimes stemming from Kosovo's 1998-1999 war, has fourteen days to respond, said Michael O'Reilly, the legal team's coordinator.

The Netherlands-based court is expected to make a decision on the request after the prosecution's response, he said.

The defense team asking for Haradinaj to be released and allowed to return to Kosovo until his trial, for which no date has yet been set.

Haradinaj's "exceptional personal and political reputation is confirmed by a wealth of high-ranking international politicians, military officials, and diplomats in and outside of Kosovo, who are firmly of the view that he will honor all conditions imposed by the Trial Chamber," the statement said.

"Given Mr. Haradinaj's position, the circumstances of his surrender, and his recent period of provisional release, there can be no basis whatsoever to believe that he will not return for his trial and fully comply with all of the Trial Chamber's orders."

The U.N. war crimes court indicted Haradinaj, 36, on March 8. He resigned as the province's prime minister and surrendered to the Netherlands-based tribunal the next day.

He has pleaded not guilty to 37 counts of war crimes allegedly committed in 1998, several months before NATO's air campaign forced Serbian troops to withdraw from Kosovo and end a crackdown on ethnic Albanians.

The former prime minister was a commander of the main ethnic Albanian rebel group battling Serb troops for independence during the 1998-99 war.

He is accused of leading a criminal plan to persecute, murder, rape and abuse Serbs and Gypsies in the ethnic Albanian-dominated province, and of participating in beatings and torture, including the abuse of ethnic Albanian civilians believed to have collaborated with Serbs.

Haradinaj was temporarily released to attend his brother's funeral last week, but was not permitted to talk to witnesses or the media while out of U.N. custody.


Anonymous said...

Why not let him go free until his trial date, after all he was only the PDK party leader who's party is responsible for killing LDK members or have you all forgotten, they the U.N. let Ceku go who is in charge of TMK/UCK also wanted for war crimes, who is from Bosnia and now owns the Grand Hotel in Pristina (How does he afford it). maybe Thaci has something to do with it. The whole country is run by criminals,and now it is a criminal state, but just remember as Serbia commited crimes against humanity so did Albanians and now they face a court of law. When they celebrate the night of fire they do so for a known terrorist in which all the above have attended one time or another. Let Haradinaj go, he is not a flight risk, he has an agenda that undermines the U.N.and with him out he can continue. P.S In his mind he thinks he was a commander and leader but in reality he is nothing more than a terrorist like Jashari who got his entire family killed because he was a coward who used women children and old men as a human shield. Haradinaj is a war criminal and a major Organized crime figure dealing with outside sources (Albania). As for a leader he could not lead a hungry rat to cheese.

Anonymous said...

Hardinaj has shown great responsibility in immediately resigning and turning himself in to the hague. He can be trusted to be let out and return for trial. Even some Serbs accuseed of much greater crimes than haradinaj and who took years to get to the Hague are now being allowed free awaiting trial.

Anonymous said...

You cannot let Haradinaj go and not others. Double standards apply.

Anonymous said...

how many serbs are still fugitives?

how many were snuffed before they could testify?

remember that NONE of Serbia's enemies indicted by the Hague would have been so, were it not for Serbia's insanity...

Anonymous said...

Its funny, this all coming from a country that ranks top 100 war criminals. Actualy, when looked at 97% of war criminals come from Serbia.

Yes, Haradinaj has been inditced but he also made sure Serbs were kept safe when NATO entered Kosova/Kosovo in 1999, and when the March riots happened. He might not be a Nobel peace prize winner but he certainly is better than all the Serb polititians combined.

Kosova/Kosovo is not run by criminals (saying that means that ALL are criminals), its run by all sorts of people no different than those in Italy, Ireland, Denmark, or Ukraine. Politics means "fighting for power", it just plain sad...