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Prosecutors Seek to Expand Haradinaj Indictment

TU No 450, 28-Apr-06
By IWPR
The original indictment against Haradinaj, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj includes 37 separate counts relating to alleged abductions, torture and murders of Albanians, Serbs and Roma in 1998.



The prosecution now want to add extra charges of persecution (or, alternatively, deportation and other inhumane acts), classified as a crime against humanity; and cruel treatment, classified as a violation of the laws or customs of war.



The new counts relate to an alleged incident in which KLA soldiers forced a particular witness – referred to only by a pseudonym – and a number of this individual's family members and neighbours to leave their homes in May 1998 and join a convoy heading in the direction of the Albanian border.



Haradinaj is said to have subsequently turned up and ordered the witness and the witness's father to be searched, using force if necessary.



After Haradinaj left, prosecutors say the witness and the witness's father were stripped naked and abused. The witnesses was allegedly hit with a pistol and forced to try to eat a small plastic-coated book, while the father was kicked unconscious. They were then tied together with barbed wire.



The witness's sister was allegedly sexually assaulted later.



Two days after being driven from their homes, the group, minus a few members, were lined up along the edge of a ravine to be shot. They are said to have escaped down the ravine following the intervention of an acquaintance.



Prosecutors also want to add a new narrative to the indictment, describing how another witness was forced to dig trenches and was used as a human shield. This additional narrative would be covered by the existing counts.



In addition, they want to correct what they refer to as a couple of typographical errors.

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