The defense of the three former KLA commanders, Haradinaj, Balaj and Brahimaj, urged the Trial Chamber to ‘reprimand the prosecutor’ for his failure to disclose documents related to the evidence of protected witness 75. The defense asked the judges to ‘draw reasonable inferences in favor of the accused’ regarding the witness’s credibility

Ramush Haradinaj, Idriz Baljaj and Lahi Brahimaj in the courtroomRamush Haradinaj, Idriz Baljaj and Lahi Brahimaj in the courtroom

Prosecutor Paul Rogers failed to disclose some documents to the defense of the three former KLA commanders, Ramush Haradinaj, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj. As a result, a prosecution witness protected by the pseudonym 75 had his testimony cut short on 1 September 2011. The Trial Chamber ordered the defense to submit their motions for disclosure in writing. Today the defense complied and the prosecution is expected to respond soon.

In his evidence before Judge Moloto’s Trial Chamber, Witness 75 recounted how in the spring of 1998 his brother was imprisoned and severely beaten in the Jablanica prison camp, where a number of crimes against Serbs, Albanians and Roma were committed. The three men in the dock stand accused of those crimes. The defense argues that the witness agreed to testify in exchange for the prosecution’s assistance with the asylum procedure in a third country. The defense also contends that the evidence of the witness was impeachable because he provided false information in his asylum application. The defense wanted to deal with this issue in the cross-examination of the witness. They claim they were denied the opportunity to do it because the prosecution disclosed the documents with delay.

Five documents are in the focus of this debate; they were disclosed by the prosecution in late August and early September 2011 after the witness had already begun his evidence. Four documents relate to the correspondence between the witness, the prosecution and the witness’s lawyer. The fifth document is a decision of the immigration service in the country where the witness applied for asylum. In one of the letters, the witness says that the asylum procedure is ‘in limbo’ and asks for the prosecutor’s help. According to the defense, the letter written by the prosecutor to the witness’s lawyer shows a ‘clear intent to assist and contribute’ to the witness’s asylum application.

The defense urged the Trial Chamber to find that the prosecution had violated the obligation to disclose relevant documents and to ‘reprimand” prosecutor Paul Rogers on the matter. The defense also wanted the prosecution to be compelled to disclose all other documents related to Witness 75 and other prosecution witnesses that could help the accused. Finally, the defense asked the Trial Chamber to use its discretionary power and ‘draw reasonable inferences in favor of the accused’ regarding the credibility of Witness 75.

The trial of Haradinaj, Balaj and Brahimaj continues on 26 September 2011, as scheduled, with the evidence of several protected prosecution witnesses.