Friday, October 14, 2005

UN war crimes court reimposes curbs on former Kosovo PM

THE HAGUE, Oct 14 (AFP) -

The United Nations war crimes court reimposed restrictions on former Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj lifted just two days earlier after chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte stepped in, the tribunal said Friday.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) said Del Ponte had called Thursday for a stay of execution of its decision, pending a formal appeal.

On Wednesday the ICTY gave permission to Haradinaj, who is on parole pending trial on charges of war crimes committed during the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict, to take part in political activities with prior approval of the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

Normally suspects awaiting trial in The Hague are not allowed to take part in public political activities or hold elected office, and Del Ponte's spokeswoman Florence Harrtmann said she was upset by the court's ruling.

She felt it could have an impact on the trial, notably by deterring witnesses from giving evidence.

Haradinaj's defence had asked the court to allow him as president of his party, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, to resume his activities.

The UN-mandated court agreed to the request to a limited extent and only with the approval of UNMIK. The decision does not mean that Haradinaj will be able to serve as prime minister again.

Haradinaj turned himself into the ICTY in March after resigning as prime minister when an indictment against him was made public.

He is accused of murder, persecution, rape and cruel treatment of Serb, Roma and Albanian civilians in Kosovo when he was a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), an ethnic Albanian guerrilla movement in the 1990s.

Earlier Friday, in his first official outing since the ban was lifted, Haradinaj said he had promised Kosovo president Ibrahim Rugova he "would continue to support the positive process which is led by him and which is in the interests of all citizens."

"The Hague tribunal made a positive decision on Haradinaj's right to be engaged in politics," Rugova said. "Haradinaj's involvement in political activities would help the process leading to independence."

Haradinaj had called on all citizens to support the political process and help to build "a democratic Kosovo and real freedom with respect of all who live in Kosovo" in a statement published in Kosovo newspapers on Friday.

Belgrade said Thursday it strongly opposed the decision, and would demand the UN war crimes tribunal gives Serb indictees the right to participate in politics like former Kosovo prime minister.

Kosovo is a southern Serbian province that has been administered by the United Nations since a 1999 NATO-led bombing campaign forced Serbian troops to end a crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists and pull out.

The court had ruled that "taking into account the very special circumstances of the case, especially UNMIK's assessment of the anticipated positive effects of the accused's involvement in public political activities and the upcoming negotiations on the final status of Kosovo, there should be some possibility for (Haradinaj) to take part in public political activities and negotiations."

The court instructed UNMIK to allow Haradinaj to take part in public politics only if it would be "important for a positive development of the political and security situation in Kosovo."

The court requested bi-weekly reports from UNMIK on the situation and expressly stated that it could revoke the privileges it had granted Haradinaj at any time.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, because Serbs started to cry like little babies when they heard the news that he could go back into politisc...

Anonymous said...

I understand the logic of the prosecutor but at a second look she is doing more harm to his supposed victims. Nobody has the moral capability to talk about reconciliation from the Albanian side than somebody who has given so much (including the lives of two brothers) to the war effort. Once again, good intentions but short-sighted.

Oh well, like everything else, publicity is all that matters nowadays.

Anonymous said...

"He is accused of murder, persecution, rape and cruel treatment of Serb, Roma and Albanian civilians in Kosovo when he was a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), an ethnic Albanian guerrilla movement in the 1990s"

Yes, and Milosevic is accused for the same.......
Why is he not granted provisional release?

Wondering from Belgium.

Anonymous said...

Because Milosevic actually did all the things he is accused for.

Irish V.

WARchild said...

Belgium dude, you are confused.

There are several differences:

First of all, Milosevic was violently deposed of power and then arrested by his government after a firefight where he had threatened with suicide.

Haradinaj on the other hand gave a gracious speach where he told his supporters to stay calm, and boarded the plane the next day to face charges brought against him.

While Haradinaj is being accussed of crimes that supposedly happennned six years ago, Milosevic is being accused of crimes that happened 15-10 years ago in one case then more crimes 6 years ago. In hindsight, it's clear that Milosevic was given a second chance (I don't know if there was a formal deal) in return for his support for the Dayton deal. Since he blew the chan ce with another war and is highly unstable mentally (it run's in the family), he has to be kept under supervision.

Thirdly, no K-Albanian has escaped Hague justice. That is not the case with Serbs who have run away to Russia or just plainly hiding under the protection of government in Serbia and Republika Srbska.

Anonymous said...

Nobody has the moral capability to talk about reconciliation from the Albanian side than somebody who has already committed war crimes against the other side.

Haradinaj and Milosevic should meet, as cellmates in the Hague!

Anonymous said...

Gen. Haradinaj is a fighter of Kosova, he will do anything for the country he helped liberate. I just wonder what will happen to the Serbs when they still hold this kind of bad ass attitude, forgetting that there has been a new sheriff in town since 1999. The ball is on the Serb side, will they take it and face reality or will they continue to sacrifice their children to lives in ghettos to protect the war criminals and hoping for the old days?

Anonymous said...

Who will kill the other, Haradinaj or Thaci?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

the international community giveth and the international community taketh away. take a lesson from the book of global politics, albanians.