Earlier today the Trial Chamber in the Haradinaj et al. case granted provisional release to two of the accused in the case, Ramush Haradinaj and Lahi Brahimaj starting from 21 December 2007. They must return to The Hague no later than 4 January 2008.
The Chamber considered the circumstances of their voluntary surrender in 2005 and Haradinaj's behaviour during his prior provisional release. Furthermore, the Trial Chamber was satisfied that UNMIK can provide the necessary guarantees to ensure their appearance at the remainder of the trial. The Trial Chamber noted that the Prosecution case had closed and without a Defence
case the situation with regard to impact on witnesses or victims had changed considerably.
The accused's release is subject to specific terms and conditions. The decision specifically rules that they should not attempt to have contact with any Prosecution witnesses in the case against them, attempt in any way to interfere with the administration of justice and engage in any political activity. Additionally it rules they should not engage in any contacts with the
media, as well as contacts with any national or international officials not necessitated for security reasons.
Haradinaj, a well known military figure from the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the 1998-99 conflict in Kosovo with Serb forces, was after the conflict the leader of a minority political party and briefly served as Prime Minister of Kosovo. He is accused of participating in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at asserting full control in the KLA operational zone of
Dukagjin which allegedly was carried out by the unlawful removal and mistreatment of Serb civilians, Kosovar Albanians, Kosovar Roma and other civilians who were, or were perceived to have been, collaborating with Serb forces or not supporting the KLA.
Brahimaj was a high KLA commander during the Kosovo conflict, reporting directly to Haradinaj. He is charged with providing direct support to Haradinaj's alleged criminal activities in the Dukagjin operational zone. Brahimaj is also accused of running the KLA detention facility in Jablanica/Jabllanicë in central Kosovo, together with other participants of a joint criminal
enterprise, and for his alleged part in the detention and mistreatment of civilians in that camp.
The Haradinaj et al. trial commenced on 5 March 2007. On 29 November 2007, all three Defence teams informed the Trial Chamber that none of them would call any evidence. Subsequently, the Chamber scheduled the closing arguments to be held between 21 and 23 January 2008. Their co-accused in the case, Idriz Balaj, did not apply for provisional release.
The full text of the decisions can be found on the Tribunal's website at: