In its appeal seeking the revocation of the decision allowing Ramush Haradinaj to resume his political activities, the prosecution notes that the Serbian Radicals "could in theory demand the same conditions for their leader, Vojislav Seselj". The prosecution also seeks that any future changes to the terms of Haradinaj's provisional release be decided by the judges, in consultation with the defense and the prosecution

Ramush Haradinaj in the courtroomRamush Haradinaj in the courtroom

By deciding to allow Ramush Haradinaj to resume his political activities as he awaits trial before the ICTY, the Trial Chamber put the views and assessments of UNMIK before the interests of the witnesses and victims, the prosecution states in its appeal, made public today.

The prosecution believes that the decision under appeal, made by a majority of votes of the Trial Chamber, gives the accused Haradinaj, for all intents and purposes, a "carte blanche to return to the political scene in Kosovo". Among the grounds for the appeal, the prosecution stresses in particular that the majority of the judges "not only approved the modified terms of provisional release, but further exacerbated the situation by delegating to the UNMIK the rights to make decisions on the applications of the accused for specific political actions, without consulting the prosecution".

The prosecution warns that "UNMIK can believe that allowing the accused to get politically active would contribute to the stability of the country, but this begs the question what would prevent the Serbian Radical Party from making similar requests; in theory they could ask for the same terms to apply to their leader Vojislav Seselj". The execution of this decision would, the prosecution contends, substantially affect the authority of the Tribunal and the role it plays in the process of establishing and maintaining peace in the region.

Judging by the decision, the prosecution notes, the Chamber "paid little or no heed to a very real concern that the public appearances and political activities of the accused could intimidate the victims and witnesses". The fact that they would be "constantly seeing him in the media would undoubtedly further upset the witnesses and victims who already have a considerable degree of concern for their safety".

It can be expected that many witnesses will decide not to testify in The Hague or to cooperate with the investigators in the field, the prosecution warns, indicating it would submit additional evidence of threats and harassment of victims and witnesses and the reactions in the media to the decision to allow Haradinaj to return to the political life in Kosovo.

The execution of the decision was temporarily stayed last Friday, and the Trial Chamber is still considering the motion made by the prosecution to stay the execution until the end of the appellate proceedings.