Saturday, April 16, 2005

U.N. tribunal to release Kosovo's former prime minister for brother's funeral

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia said Saturday it would temporarily release Kosovo's former prime minister to attend the funeral of his younger brother.

Former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj's 23-year-old brother, Enver, was fatally shot Friday, when unknown gunmen sprayed his car with bullets in western Kosovo and then escaped.

Ramush Haradinaj, who surrendered to the U.N. court last month to face war crimes charges, will be allowed to attend his brother's funeral Sunday afternoon in Kosovo, but will not be permitted to talk to witnesses or the media while out of U.N. custody, according to tribunal rules.

He "shall not have or attempt to have contacts with potential prosecution witnesses in the case against him or any of the surviving witnesses," the court said in a statement.

Ramush Haradinaj, 36, 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 ethnic Albanian rebel group battling Serb troops for independence during the 1998-99 war.

He allegedly led a criminal plan to persecute, murder, rape and abuse Serbs and Gypsies in the Albanian-dominated province of southern Serbia in 1998-99. He is accused of participating in beatings and torture, including the abuse of Albanian civilians believed to have collaborated with Serbs.

Enver Haradinaj was also a rebel fighter in the war, during which two other brothers were killed. Another brother, Daut, is serving a five-year sentence for participating in the torture and killing of members of rival ethnic Albanian rebel group.


Anonymous said...

By those standards:

Serbia must be a sick country...

where it is hard to extradite war criminals for trial at The Hague...

and which is still governed by those who perpetrated (war) criminal activity.

Anonymous said...

Serbia today is as if in the 1950's Germany Goebels and the SS were in power.