December 3, 2012
By Edona Peci
Tirana and Pristina say role and acts of former chief prosecutor at the Hague Tribunal need probing following the acquittal of Ramush Haradinaj last week.
The Kosovo and Albania governments have urged international authorities to start an independent inquiry into the former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY, Carla Del Ponte.
The government of Kosovo said such an investigation should probe Del Ponte’s authority as Chief Prosecutor in the cases of Ramush Haradinaj and Fatmir Limaj, and “with regard to her science fiction fabrications about Dick Marty’s allegations”.
The government said Del Ponte’s work at the Hague Tribunal had led to “the imprisonment” of many political figures from Kosovo, had “stained their character” and “damaged the image of the country.
“Having in mind her legal authorizations and privileges, the government of Kosovo believes these authorizations and privileges were exceeded to a degree which enabled the raising of baseless, biased and unlawful indictments,” a press release read.
The request came three days after the Hague Tribunal acquitted Haradinaj, a former prime minister of Kosovo, and two comrades from the former Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, Lahi Brahimaj and Idriz Balaj.
Haradinaj was acquitted in 2008 of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1998-99 war in Kosovo. The trial lasted three years
In 2010 the Tribunal ordered a partial retrial for the trio concerning the killing and torture of prisoners of war in the KLA run camp at Jabllanica.
The Trial Chamber of the ICTY on Thursday ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove any of the counts in the indictment, including that the defendants were part of a joint criminal enterprise, JCE, to establish KLA control in western Kosovo through detention camps.
Geoffrey Nice, a former senior trial attorney at the Tribunal, said the Haradinaj trial had been “an embarrassment for the ICTY”, noting that several lawyers had advised Del Ponte and her colleagues that there was not enough evidence to prosecute.
In an interview, Nice recently told the Bosnian daily newspaper Dnevni Avaz that Del Ponte had questions to answer about the Haradinaj indictment.
“If, as some suggest, the indictment against Haradinaj was raised because there were hidden motives, then the office of the Prosecutor must investigate that, and clearly determine where the mistake was made and who is to blame for it,” he was quoted as saying.
The government of Albania has meanwhile asked the UN General Secretary and the ICTY “to immediately launch an investigation” with regard to Del Ponte’s “claims and her biased and illegal role” in the Haradinaj case.
Del Ponte was the Tribunal’s Chief Prosecutor for more then eight years after August 1999. She was Chief Prosecutor during 2003-2005 when the Tribunal dealt with the “Limaj et al” case.
In 2003 she charged three former KLA members, Fatmir Limaj, Haradin Bala and Isak Musliu, over “the imprisonment, violence and murder against Serb and Albanian civilians in the KLA Lapushnik prison camp in Kosovo, in 1998”. The Tribunal acquitted them in November 2005.
In 2008, in her book: “The Hunt: War Criminals and Me”, she claimed that Kosovo Albanians where involved in organ trafficking during the war in Kosovo.
Similar allegations were made in 2010 by Dick Marty, Swiss human rights rapporteur at the Council of Europe, who accused several senior former KLA members, including Kosovo’s current Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, of harvesting the organs of Serbian prisoners and others in Albania in 1998-99.
The Balkan Insight (forner the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes.
BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention.
Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.
Read all posts by Balkan Insight