UN court orders retrial for former Kosovan Prime Minister Haradinaj | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 21.07.2010
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UN court orders retrial for former Kosovan Prime Minister Haradinaj

Two years after being acquitted of murder, rape and torture, ex-Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has been ordered for a retrial. A UN war crimes tribunal said his original trial was marred by witness intimidation.

Former Kosove Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj

Haradinaj was acquitted in The Hague in 2008

The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in the Hague has ordered a retrial of former Kosovan Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, two years after he was acquitted of murder, rape and torture charges during the Kosovo War in 1998.

Tribunal President Patrick Robinson said the original trial of Haradinaj - and two other former commanders in the Kosovo Liberation Army - was marred by witness intimidation.

Robinson said that judges had "failed to appreciate the gravity" of the intimidation.

Kosovars dance in the main street of Decane

Kosovars celebrated Haradinaj's original acquittal

The judges originally threw out charges against Haradinaj for lack of evidence, although, at the time, witness intimidation was observed by the panel.

"The Chamber encountered significant difficulties in securing the testimony of a large number of witnesses. Many cited fear as a prominent reason for not wishing to appear before the Chamber to give evidence. In this regard, the Chamber gained a strong impression that the trial was being held in an atmosphere where witnesses felt unsafe […]," read an official judgment summary of the 2008 trial.

Haradinaj had been charged - along with commanders Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj - with abusing Serbs and their supporters in 1998 during Kosovo's battle for independence from Serbia.

Author: Gabriel Borrud (AFP/AP)
Editor: Rob Turner

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