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The Hague, 16 September 2011
Shefqet Kabashi convicted for Contempt of the Tribunal
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia today sentenced Shefqet Kabashi for contempt of the Tribunal to 2 months of imprisonment.
On 26 August 2011, Kabashi pleaded guilty to charges that he knowingly and willfully interfered with the Tribunal’s administration of justice by contumaciously refusing or failing to answer questions as a witness in the case of Ramush Haradinaj and others on two occasions in June and November 2007. The Trial Chamber accepted his plea on 31 August 2011, entering a finding of guilt.
According to the Prosecution, Shefqet Kabashi has been a key witness in the trial and re-trial of Ramush Haradinaj et al. as his testimony relates to the defendants’ alleged responsibility for crimes committed at the KLA headquarters and the prison in Jablanica/Jabllanicë. Haradinaj, former KLA Commander and Prime Minister of Kosovo, and his two co-accused Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj, are being re-tried on six counts of the indictment relating to the torture and murder of prisoners in the KLA-run camp in Jablanica/Jabllanicë. When ordering a partial re-trial of the case in July 2010, the Appeals Chamber found that the Trial Chamber had erred in failing to secure Kabashi’s testimony, and that of one other witness, thereby depriving the Prosecution of vital support for its case.
“By contumaciously refusing or failing to answer questions as a witness, Mr Kabashi deprived the Haradinaj et al. Trial Chamber of evidence relevant for an effective ascertainment of truth in the adjudication of that case,” the Presiding Judge Alphons Orie said today pronouncing the Sentencing Judgment.
When sentencing Kabashi, the Trial Chamber found that any motives that the defense submitted he may have had for his refusal or failure to answer questions remained vague and could not be considered in determining the appropriate sentence.
In evaluating the sentence of 2 months of imprisonment for Shefqet Kabashi, the Trial Chamber considered as mitigating factors his family situation and the fact that, according to medical documentation, he suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder which worsens in a prison environment.
Although the Trial Chamber considered Kabashi’s apology he expressed along with his guilty plea as genuine, the Chamber afforded to such remorse a reduced mitigating weight because of the fact that Kabashi had failed to come before the Tribunal to face the charges against him for more than four years.
Both the Prosecution and the defense have the right to appeal.
Kabashi is entitled to credit of 31 days that he has already spent in detention.
Charges against Kabashi were first brought on 5 June 2007, and then amended on 18 February 2008. Kabashi was arrested on 17 August 2011 by the Dutch authorities and transferred to the Tribunal’s custody on 18 August 2011. His initial appearance before the Presiding Judge of the Trial Chamber was held on 19 August 2011.
The full text of the summary of the Judgment is now available on the Tribunal’s website at the following link.
An information sheet on the case can be found at the following link
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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