|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)||
The Hague, 8 April 2009
The Tribunal’s Appeals Chamber today ordered the provisional release of Astrit Haraqija from the Tribunal’s Detention Unit. Haraqija’s release, to take place at the earliest practical moment, was ordered as he completed the five-month sentence imposed for contempt of court.
Haraqija, former Kosovo Minister for Culture, Youth and Sport, was convicted on 17 December 2008 of trying to persuade a Prosecution witness not to testify in the trial of former Kosovo Albanian military leader Ramush Haradinaj. Haraqija’s co-accused, Bajrush Morina, former political advisor to the Deputy Minister for Culture, Youth and Sport of Kosovo and part-time editor of the Kosovo newspaper “Bota Sot”, was sentenced on the same day to three months’ imprisonment. Morina was granted provisional release pending appeal after completing his sentence on 9 February 2009.
Both the Prosecution and the Defence have appealed the judgement. The Appeals judgement is pending.
Haraqija has spent a total of 5 months in the Tribunal’s Detention Unit. He was held there from 28 April – 15 May 2008 at the time of his initial appearance in court, from 3 – 18 September 2008 at the time of his trial and from 15 December 2008, the date he returned in to the Tribunal’s custody for the Trial Chamber’s judgement until today.
Haraqija’s release is subject to a number of terms set down in today’s Decision.
The Tribunal holds the safety of its witnesses and confidentiality of its protected materials in high regard. To date contempt proceedings have been initiated against around 30 persons with charges raised against defence counsel, witnesses in cases, journalists and others in relation to allegations of witness intimidations, the refusal to answer questions in court, leaking confidential court documents, and breaching protective measures.
The Appeals Chamber decision can be found at:
The Trial Chamber judgement can be found at:
An information sheet about the case can be found at:
Courtroom proceedings can be followed on the Tribunal’s website at www.icty.org
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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