Skip to comments.Hague court grants Albanian warcriminal provisional release
Posted on 06/07/2005 9:51:01 AM PDT by dj_animal_2000
Hague court grants Kosovo ex-PM provisional release
06 Jun 2005 15:34:30 GMT
AMSTERDAM, June 6 (Reuters) - The U.N. tribunal in The Hague said on Monday it had decided to provisionally release former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj pending his war crimes trial.
Haradinaj is the most senior former Kosovo guerrilla to be indicted by the tribunal for alleged atrocities in the 1998-99 separatist war against Serb forces. He is considered a hero by many Kosovo Albanians.
A former regional commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Haradinaj surrendered to the U.N. tribunal in March, winning praise for his prompt compliance with the court.
"The Trial chamber is satisfied that, if released, he will appear for trial and that there are no indications that he will pose any danger to victims, witnesses or other persons," the tribunal said in a statement.
Chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte said last month she opposed his provisional release saying it could hinder the prosecution's investigation. The tribunal said any appeal of its decision had to be filed within 24 hours.
Haradinaj faces charges of murder, rape and deportation of Serb civilians. He denies the charges.
Kosovo's government has called for Haradinaj's release pending trial and offered legal assistance for his defence. No date has yet been set for the start of the trial.
Lauded for his "dynamic" leadership, diplomats say Haradinaj's departure left a gaping hole in Kosovo's government as the province nears negotiations on its final status.
Kosovo remains formally part of Serbia but its Albanian majority demands independence.
Some analysts say Haradinaj's presence, albeit behind the scenes, could give Kosovo's leadership renewed direction and discipline as it strives to meet standards of democracy and minority rights the West has set as a condition for the talks.
Kosovo was placed under U.N.-led administration in 1999 after 78 days of NATO bombing expelled Serb forces accused of atrocities against civilians while they fought to smother the ethnic Albanian insurgency.
We backed the wrong side in that one. My buddy who was in Kosovo for a period of time with the army said that there were atrocities enough on both sides, but the Serbs, minus the Milosovich gang were much more civilized.
It's a question of rightful ownership and sovereignty. If we don't find a way to refute the precedent of Kosovo, it isn't going to be five years before the UN steps in demanding that we hand Texas and California over to Vincente Fox and the Atzlan/Mecha crowd on the same basis.
Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily February 08, 2005
Analysis. From GIS Station Belgrade. Ramush (Hilmi) Haradinaj, 36, the former nightclub bouncer who was named by the Kosovo provincial parliament as Prime Minister of the Serbian province during the first week of December 2004, has a long and serious record of criminal and terrorist activities, including links with the al-Qaida terrorist movement. He is expected to be indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. The charges were expected to include the killing of 40 Serb and Albanian civilians near his home village of Glodjane in the Summer of 1998.
Haradinaj was born on July 3, 1968, in the village of Glodjani, Municipality of Decani. He is suspected of having committed criminal acts of terrorism, association with hostile intentions, and the murder of civilians; 108 criminal charges were brought against him. He emigrated to Switzerland in 1989, after which he joined the French Foreign Legion. In 1996, back in the Balkans, he completed his diversionary terrorist training. In Albania, he took part in establishing the logistics bases of al-Qaida in Kuks and Tropoj, and later used these bases, with a group of trusted associates, as key elements in the chain to transport weapons to Serbia's Kosovo and Metohija province.
In mid-1997, Haradinaj illegally entered Serbia's Kosovo province, and, together with his brothers, Daut and Shkelzen, organized terrorist attacks against the police department in the village of Ranic, Municipality of Decani, and the village of Ponosevac, Municipality of Djakovica, and on the refugee camps in Junik and Babaloc.
At the beginning of 1998, in Glodjani, he formed a diversionary terrorist group which, following his orders, intercepted and threatened Serbs and Albanians loyal to the Republic of Serbia. This group, headed by the Haradinaj brothers, attacked a police patrol in the village of Glodjani, in which Miodrag Otovic was murdered.
In April 1998, the terrorist group, led by Ramush Haradinaj, established the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) general staff in Glodjani for Metohija, the members of which became his brothers Daut and Skeljzen, as well as Hilmi Haradinaj, Faton Mehmeti, Rasim Haradinaj, Fadil Nimonaj, Maliq Ndrecaj, and others, while Ramush himself was engaged in the promotion and establishment of local general staffs on the overall region of Decani and Djakovica. At the same time, on his initiative, a special KLA unit was formed in Glodjani, called "Black Eagles", whose commander was Idriz Balaj, aka "Toger". Under the leadership of Ramush Haradinaj, the "Black Eagles" kidnapped and murdered dozens of Serb civilians. A number of bodies were found in the Radonjic Lake and village wells in the Decani Municipality.
After Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) was formed out of the KLA, following the end of the NATO attacks on Serbia, Haradinaj was appointed Deputy Commander to the KPC Commander, Agim eku. Towards the end of 2000, he left the KPC and established the ABK party. In order to maintain his influence over KPC, he managed to place his brother Daut as the commander of the 3rd RTG of KPC which carries out the assassinations of Ramush's political rivals. Haradinaj also has close connection within the KPC structure, bearing in mind that a large number of policemen and officers of this formation were active in KLA at the time when Haradinaj was the commander of the KLA general staff in Metohija.
Ramush Haradinaj has been regarded by Serbian authorities as the most influential criminal in Metohija, in the region of Pec, Decani and Djakovica. In cooperation with Ekrem Lluka and Naser Kelmendi, he created a criminal organization which controls the organized smuggling of drugs, cigarettes, oil, oil derivates, weapons, vehicles and other goods. His close associates, Isa Balaj, Arton Tolaj, Avdyl Mushkoli and Ali Haskaj, all from Decani, are in contact with the members of the Albanian mafia.
A part of the acquired profit from the criminal activities of Haradinaj and his criminal group was given to KPC, and from the same source, a significant part of the financial means was forwarded to Nazim Haradinaj, who supplied the Albanian terrorists in Macedonia with weapons.
Haradinaj belongs to an influential family in the Pec region, which has great rivals in the Rugova and the Musaj clan, which traditionally aids Ibrahim Rugova's DSK political party in Kosovo & Metohija, and formerly had close connections with FARK of Bujar Bukosi. On July 7, 2000, he was seriously wounded in the village of Strelci, in the western part of K&M, as a result of an inter-mafia conflict between the groups belonging to Hashim Thaqi (Thaci) and Haradinaj and the Musaj family. Before and after that, a series of murders were committed as a consequence of the blood feud among the warring clans.
In the second half of 2002, an investigation was launched, and Daut Haradinaj and a group of top KPC officers were arrested and sentenced to a number of years in prison. Beside that, criminal charges were brought in the District Court in Pec, against Ramush Haradinaj.
Aiming to free his brother from prison, Haradinaj, with the mediation of Avdyl Mushkoli, organized demonstrations and initiated the formation of a group of some 30 people who attempted to release Daut Haradinaj by force from the Dubrava prison, Istok Municipality.
In January 2003, Haradinaj organized the assassination of Tahir Zemaj, a FARK commander, his son Enis and nephew Hysen, on the Pristina-Pec road, in the vicinity of a lumber plant, due to the fact that Zemaj was supposed to be the State witness in the proceedings against Daut Haradinaj and himself.
Following Ramush Haradinaj's orders, Maliq Ndrecaj was sent to the Vitina region, in order to organize the terrorist Albanian National Army (ANA), which proof of Haradinaj's involvement in the incidents in southern Serbia. He was especially active in arms procurement and the secret training of terrorists from this region, which was organized in the villages along the administrative border.
Copyright 2004 Defense & Foreign Affairs/International Strategic Studies Association
...charges of murder, rape and deportation of Serb civilians.
None of which the modern European (or at least those involved with the Hague Court)finds particularly objectionable.
That's the last anyone will ever see of him, before he disappears.