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Trial Chamber I today issued an Order lifting the confidentiality of an indictment against Astrit Haraqija and Bajrush Morina charged with the contempt of the Tribunal committed during the trial of Ramush Haradinaj and others.
According to the indictment, in July 2007 Astrit Haraqija and Bajrush Morina tried to persuade a protected witness, witness PW, not to testify against Ramush Haradinaj.
The witness was granted protective measures in 2005 and his unredacted witness statements disclosed by the Prosecution to the Defence in January and February 2007. Only Ramush Haradinaj, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj and their defence teams had access to these documents.
At the time Haraqija was the Kosovo Minister for Culture, Youth and Sport and one of the three co-founders of the “Defence committee for Ramush Haradinaj”. Bajrush Morina was his employee working as the political advisor to the Deputy Minister at the Kosovo Ministry for Culture, Youth and Sport and a part-time editor at the Kosovo newspaper “Bota Sot”.
The indictment states that upon learning of the identity of the witness in July 2007, Haraqija instructed Morina to travel to PW’s country of residence in order to persuade him not to testify against Haradinaj.
Morina met the witness on 10 and 11 July 2007. His trip was paid by the Ministry, it is alleged.
The witness refused to succumb to the pressure and eventually testified at the trial.
On 3 April 2008 Trial Chamber I acquitted Ramush Haradinaj and Idriz Balaj of all charges which alleged they were responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo between March and September 1998. The third accused, Lahi Brahimaj was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for cruel treatment and torture of two persons at the Jablanica/Jabllanicë headquarters of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
The Chamber noted “the significant difficulties encountered by the Chamber in securing testimony of a large number of witnesses” during the trial.
The contempt indictment was filed confidentially and ex parte by the Prosecution on 8 January 2008.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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