NEW INDICTMENT AGAINST HARADINAJ, BALAJ AND BRAHIMAJ
In the new amended indictment, the three former KLA commanders are charged with the joint criminal enterprise whose purpose was to mistreat Kosovo Serbs, Albanians and Roma, and which involved murder and torture of prisoners in the Jablanica prison camp
Prosecutor Paul Rodgers, who is in charge of the Ramush Haradinaj, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj case, submitted to the Trial Chamber a new version of the amended indictment for the partial re-trial of the case. The new document is in fact a significantly abridged version of the original indictment on which the three former Kosovo Liberation Army commanders were already tried.
Haradinaj and Balaj were acquitted of all charges in the 37 counts of the indictment; Brahimaj was sentenced to six years in prison. The Appeals Chamber however reversed the judgment and ordered a re-trial on six counts alleging crimes in Jablanica. The Appeals Chamber ruled that the prosecution should not have rested its case without examining two unwilling witnesses. One of the unwilling witnesses is a former guard in the KLA prison camp in Jablanica, Shefqet Kabashi, and the other is a protected witness who was a prisoner, named as Witness 6.
The new indictment charges the three former KLA commanders with the joint criminal enterprise whose purpose was to mistreat Kosovo Serbs, Albanians and Roma from March to September 1998, and which involved murder, cruel treatment and torture of prisoners in the Jablanica prison camp. In the new indictment, these crimes are qualified as violations of laws and customs of war.
The first count in the indictment alleges that on or around 19 May 1998, Kosovo Serb Ivan Zaric and his Roma friends Agron Berisha and Burim Bejta from the village of Dolac were arrested and taken to Jablanica. Ramush Haradinaj was present when Idriz Balaj cut off Zaric’s ear. Lahi Brahimaj then ordered all three prisoners to be killed. The three men were never seen again after Balaj took them out of the room where Haradinaj was.
Uke Rexhpaj and his son-in-law Nesret Alijaj, two Roma from the Kosovo village of Grabanica, met a similar fate. According to the second count in the indictment, Rexhpaj and Alijaj were arrested on or around 25 May 1998 and were accused of being Serb ‘collaborationists’. They were taken to the KLA prison center in Jablanica. There they were killed on the orders of Lahi Brahimaj.
The third count in the indictment deals with the arrest of a Kosovo Albanian who is named as Witness 6. On or around 13 June 1993, Witness 6 was stopped by the KLA members on the road from Klina to Djakovica. When weapons were found in his car, Witness 6 was accused of collaborating with the Serbs. He was taken to Jablanica where KLA members beat him up several times. Brothers Lahi and Nazmi Brahimaj were among those who beat up Witness 6. Nazmi Brahimaj, the indictment alleges, released Witness 6 from the prison on 25 July. Serb police officer Nenad Remistar was not so lucky, as alleged in the fourth count in the indictment. Following his arrest on 13 June 1998, Remistar was beaten up badly several times and was later killed in Jablanica.
According to the indictment, Kosovo Albanians Pal Krasniqi and Skender Kuqi also died in custody in Jablanica. Krasniqi was killed in Jablanica and Kuqi died in hospital after he was beaten up. Krasniqi’s body was found in a mass grave in the Radonjic Lake in September 1998. Kuqi’s body was recovered at a location provided by Ramush Haradinaj, and handed over to his family. The fifth count alleges that a Kosovo Albanian under the pseudonym Witness 3 was taken to Jablanica in July 1998 under Lahi Brahimaj’s escort. The witness 3 was repeatedly beaten up there.
The final count in the indictment focuses on the fate of Naser Lika from Grabanica. Lika was brought to Jablanica in July 1998, accused of treason and supporting Ibrahim Rugova’s party. When Lika was brought before Haradinaj, Haradinaj ordered Brahimaj to ‘go ahead with his job’. Lika was badly beaten. The indictment alleges that Haradinaj ordered the men to stop beating Lika several times, and then told them to continue; he also spat in Lika's face. Lahi Brahimaj and Idriz Balaj were in the room when Lika was beaten up. Balaj threatened he would kill him. Naser Lika managed to escape from the jail a while later.As indicated at the final status conference, the partial re-trial of Haradinaj, Balaj and Brahimaj could begin in the first few months of 2011.
- Case : Haradinaj et al.
- 2010-09-23 PREPARATIONS FOR TRIAL OF FORMER KLA COMMANDERS PROCEED APACE
- 2010-09-10 HARADINAJ AND BRAHIMAJ TO REMAIN IN TRIBUNAL’S DETENTION UNIT
- 2010-08-24 EULEX ISSUES GUARANTEES FOR HARADINAJ AND BRAHIMAJ
- 2010-11-24 DEFENSE WANTS NEW INDICTMENT AGAINST HARADINAJ ET AL. AMENDED
- 2010-11-26 THE ACCUSED WANT TO HAVE ‘A CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY’
- 2010-12-08 HARADINAJ WILL GO ON A WINTER HOLIDAY, BRAHIMAJ REMAINS IN DETENTION