War Crimes Tribunal Orders Re-Trial

Former Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj faces a re-trial on war crimes charges after the The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) partially quashed his earlier acquittal.

Haradinaj, who was also a well-known commander in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during its conflict with Serb forces in 1998-99, had been acquitted in 2008 of murder, rape, torture, abduction, cruel treatment, imprisonment and the forced deportation of ethnic Serbian and Kosovar Roma civilians.

Haradinaj (42), and his two co-accused, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj, were ordered to be placed in custody at the UN Detention Unit in The Hague – where the ICTY is based – pending their re-trial at a date to be fixed.

In the 2008 decision by the trial chamber, both Haradinaj and Balaj (38) were acquitted of all charges. But Brahimaj (40) was convicted of the cruel treatment and torture of two people at the KLA headquarters in Jablanica/Jabllanicë and sentenced to six years in jail.

There are serious concerns relating to the length of time trials at the ICTY take and specifically the length of time defendants have to serve in detention.

However, it’s also right that the trials are thorough and follow due process of law.

Getting the balance right isn’t easy. Have they got it right in this case?

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