The Hague Tribunal, ICTY, has passed non-guilty verdict in the retrial of former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj and two more ex Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, commanders.Haradinaj, former Prime Minister of Kosovo, and his two co-defendants, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj, are acquitted of all charges of committing war crimes during the Kosovo conflict of the late 1990s.The government of Kosovo welcomed the acquittals. In a press release, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci described the verdict as just.
“This verdict is the most powerful proof that the Kosovo Liberation Army fought a just war for freedom and did not carry out the crimes for which it has been unfairly accused. This has been proven by the Hague Tribunal today and it will be proven again in the case of Fatmir Limaj and his comrades,” the press release reads.
Kosovo’s President Atifete Jahjaga said she is happy that “Mr Haradinaj is returning to his family and to Kosovo to continue contributing, consolidating and further strengthening the democratic processes that our country is going through.”
“The ICTY’s decision…is a proof that our war was just and that those who led our freedom fight are not guilty of the crimes they were accused of,” she added.he Trial Chamber found that the prosecution did not prove any of the counts of the indictment including that the defendants were part of a joint criminal enterprise, JCE, to establish KLA control in western Kosovo through detention camps.
Prosecutors alleged that they tortured and killed ethnic Serbs, and Albanians who were deemed to have collaborated with Serbs, in a KLA-run camp at Jablanica in 1998.
“Having considered all the circumstantial evidence offered to prove the existence of the JCE alleged in the Indictment, the Chamber finds that the common purpose of the JCE is not established,” said the presiding judge Bakone Justice Moloto in the explanation of the verdict.
The Hague court acquitted Haradinaj and Balaj of all charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity following a three-year trial in 2008. Brahimaj was sentenced to six years for cruel treatment and torture.