The culture of silence and impunity must be broken

On 29 November 2012, Ramush Haradinaj, Prime Minister in the Kosovar government 2004-2005, and former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), was again aquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Haradinaj was on trial for crimes against Albanian, Serbian and Roma civilians in the prison camp in Jablanica in 1998.

“Civil Rights Defenders deeply regrets the fact that the International Criminal Court for the Former Yugoslavia failed to properly establish the facts. In order to establish preconditions for dealing with the past and provide justice for victims, the culture of silence and impunity must be broken in all countries in the region”, says Goran Miletic, Programme Director for the Western Balkans at Civil Rights Defenders.

Moreover, courts in Kosovo have so far rendered only one judgment of conviction against a Kosovo Liberation Army member – for the murder of one person, in a trial for crimes committed in the Dukagjin area in 1998.

In the period March-September 1998, 41 civilians were killed or went missing, while 64 members of the police units and the Yugoslav Army died in clashes with the Kosovo Liberation Army on the territory of the municipalities of Pec/Pejë, Decani/Deçane, Djakovica/Gjakovë, Klina/Klinë and Istok/ Istok. These municipalities were at the time controlled by the Kosovo Liberation Army.

In the initial judgment delivered by the ICTY’s Trial Chamber in 2008, the court found that members of the Kosovo Liberation Army committed 12 murders, seven crimes of torture/cruel treatment, and one rape, but could not establish the criminal responsibility of defendants for these crimes based on evidence.

The focus of the retrial were the killings of 8 people and torture of 7 persons in the Jablanica/Jabllanicë camp, while the conclusion of the new Trial Chamber remained the same – that it is not possible to establish criminal responsibility based on the evidence presented in court.

Categories: News.
Tags: ICTY and Impunity.
Regions: Western Balkans.