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Date Set for Haradinaj Appeals Verdict

Decision on the case of former Kosovo prime minister to be delivered July 21.
By Rachel Irwin

The appeals verdict in the case of ex-Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj will be delivered on July 21, the Hague tribunal announced this week.

Haradinaj, the former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, stood trial in 2007 alongside two other KLA leaders, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj.

The men were charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the murder, torture and rape of Serb civilians, as well as suspected Kosovar Albanian collaborators, during the late 1990s conflict in Kosovo.

In April 2008, Haradinaj and Balaj were acquitted of all charges against them, while Brahimaj was found guilty of cruel treatment and torture, and sentenced to six years in jail.

He was granted provisional release in May 2009, but has been ordered back to The Hague for the appeals judgement.

During the October 2009 appeals hearing, prosecutors demanded a retrial, claiming that witness intimidation had “infected” the trial, making it impossible for them to effectively present their case.

One former KLA member who refused to testify, Shefqet Kabashi, was indicted by the tribunal for contempt of court.

Brahimaj’s defence counsel told judges that they sought to reverse his conviction on counts of torture and cruel treatment, and seek a reduction of the six-year sentence on 19 grounds of appeal.

His lawyer, Richard Harvey, cited witness testimony that was inconsistent and lacked credibility during the trial.

It remains unclear whether Haradinaj and Balaj will travel to The Hague for the appeals judgement.

Rachel Irwin is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.

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