BALA OFFENDED, CLAIMS PROSECUTION TREATS HIM THE SAME AS MILOSEVIC
Haradin Bala says he does not believe any member of his people would do the things he, Fatmir Limaj and Isak Musliu have been accused of. His defense counsel indicates he intends to prove Bala had alibi for the crimes and could not have committed them because of his ill health
"No allegation against Haradin Bala has been proven" in the course of the prosecution case, his lawyer Richard Harvey said today, noting that it is "extremely unbelievable" that Bala might have committed the crimes he has been charged with in light of his ill health and the place he was in at the time when the abuse and murders of detainees in Lapusnik in 1998 were committed.
In his opening statement, at the beginning of Bala's defense, Harvey indicated that "there are three areas that will cause the judges to ponder them": first, Bala intends to use alibi defense, claiming he was not at the scene of the crimes; second, because of his ill health, "he did not have the strength to commit such acts"; and third, "no prosecution witness has identified Bala in such a way that a reasonable trier of fact may rely on such identification."
The accused Bala then made a half-hour long statement, not under oath. He said that the events in Lapusnik made him sad and caused him concern, but that he did not commit those acts. "I was accused of beating the detainees, of opening doors to let the others in to beat them and for executing members of my own ethnic group – that is not true!" He added that he did not believe any member of his people would do the things he, Fatmir Limaj and Isak Musliu have been accused of.
After a lengthy recounting of the plight of his family and the Kosovo Albanians in general, caused by the Serbian authorities, Bala said that he felt "tortured" every day at the thought that in the courtroom he sat at the same place occupied by Slobodan Milosevic during his trial. Bala called him "a monster… who tried to wipe [the Kosovo Albanians] from the face of earth." He objected to the fact that they are both "treated the same".