UNMIK pleads for Haradinaj

24 October 2005 by Laurent Abadie

In a decision unprecedented in the history of international justice, a trial chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) ruled on October 12, in a 2-1 vote, that the former Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, "may appear in public and engage in public political activities to the extent which UN Mission in Kosovo [UNMIK] finds would be important for a positive development of the political and security situation in Kosovo." The Prosecutor is "appalled" by the decision and has filed a suspensive request. As a result, Haradinaj has not been allowed to speak in public for more than two days.

Carla del Ponte, ICTY prosecutor, harshly criticized the "disparate treatment" that marks this decision to allow Haradinaj, who has been on provisional release since June 6, to resume political activities as the leader of his party, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK). Haradinaj resigned as head of the transitional government in Kosovo on March 8, and turned himself in to the Scheveningen detention center in the Netherlands. He was released pending trial against the advice of the Prosecutor, who nevertheless had not appealed the decision. As former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) separatist forces, Haradinaj has been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes. He is slated to stand trial in 2007 along with two of his former deputy officers from the UCK.

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