In his rebuttal of the closing arguments of the defense, the prosecutor agreed with Haradinaj’s defense counsel that in the spring of 1999 the KLA had been in a state of anarchy. This, however, suited the first accused, enabling him to accomplish his criminal intent, the prosecutor went on to say. Why did Haradinaj’s defense counsel defend Balaj? Was ‘Toger’ identified properly? Is there a similarity between Lahi Brahimaj and Nelson Mandela? Can the judgment be expected by mid-March?

Ramush Haradinaj, Idriz Balaj i Lahi Brahimaj u sudnici Tribunala zadnjeg dana suđenjaRamush Haradinaj, Idriz Balaj i Lahi Brahimaj u sudnici Tribunala zadnjeg dana suđenja

In his rebuttal of the closing arguments of the defense for the three former KLA commanders, the prosecutor said he agreed with Ramush Haradinaj’s defense counsel that in the spring of 1998 the KLA was not a proper army but an emergent army without an established structure. This resulted in lack of discipline among the troops. But, the prosecutor contends, this was precisely what suited Haradinaj. ’The last thing he wanted’ in the KLA was proper military discipline. In the words of the prosecutor, anarchy in the KLA and the culture of impunity made it possible for Haradinaj to ’implement his criminal intent’ through his subordinate KLA soldiers.

According to the prosecutor, a paradigmatic example is Haradinaj’s order issued in the spring of 1998 calling for ’measures to be taken against the KLA adversaries’. Members of Haradinaj’s military police understood this order as they saw fit and proceeded to deal with the non-Albanians and opponents summarily, the prosecutor said. The most explicit proof the prosecution provided was the list for the liquidation of Albanian collaborationists found in the possession of Meto Krasniqi, a KLA commander appointed by Ramush Haradinaj.

In his rejoinder, Haradinaj’s defense counsel Ben Emmerson noted that there was not a single piece of evidence to link his client with any of the military policemen who had committed crimes. There was no link between Haradinaj and Meto Krasniqi’s liquidation list. In Emmerson’s words, the prosecution ‘fabricates evidence and uses it to come to fabricated conclusions’.

The prosecutor today repeated that there was clear evidence of Idriz Balaj’s involvement in several murders, kidnappings and rapes mentioned in the indictment. The witnesses identified Toger as the perpetrator of these crimes. Balaj’s defense counsel believes this is meaningless because ’toger’ denotes just a lieutenant in Albanian. The soldiers may have called somebody else by rank, and not Balaj by his alias.

It is interesting to note that Haradinaj’s defense counsel spent some time today denying the involvement of Idriz Balaj in the crimes committed against Serbian, Roma and Albanian civilians. This was done in case the Trial Chamber accepted the prosecution’s allegation that Haradinaj was Balaj’s superior.

In his closing argument yesterday, Lahi Brahimaj’s defense counsel noted that in 1998 the KLA had been operating in apartheid conditions, with Albanians as victims. The prosecutor said he was sure Brahimaj was no Nelson Mandela but a war criminal who, according to prosecution witnesses, took part in the arrests and torture of detainees in the KLA-run Jablanica camp. In his rejoinder, Brahimaj’s defense counsel said only one sentence: ‘My client is a war hero, not a war criminal’.

The Trial Chamber will have the final say on the evidence. The same Trial Chamber will then take over the Gotovina, Markac and Cermak case, slated to proceed to trial on 11 March. The only thing presiding judge Alphons Orie said today was that he ‘couldn’t promise that the judgment would be delivered before that date, but couldn’t promise it wouldn’t either’.