Kosovo's ex-PM faces war crimes retrial

Former Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj faces a retrial for war crimes.

The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal today ordered the new hearing, calling his acquittal two years ago on charges of murder, rape and torture a miscarriage of justice.

Tribunal president Patrick Robinson said the original trial of Haradinaj and two other former commanders in the Kosovo Liberation Army was influenced by intimidation of key prosecution witnesses.

Haradinaj had been accused along with Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj of abusing Serbs or their supporters in 1998 as Kosovo battled for independence from Serbia.

“The trial chamber failed to appreciate the gravity of the threat that witness intimidation posted to the trial’s integrity,” Mr Robinson said in handing down his decision.

“Given the potential importance of these witnesses to the prosecution’s case, the error undermined the fairness of the proceedings and resulted in a miscarriage of justice.”

Haradinaj, wearing a dark suit and tie, showed no emotion when Mr Robinson ordered the retrial and told guards to take him into custody. No date was immediately set for the retrial.

Judges originally threw out all charges against Haradinaj and Balaj for lack of evidence and convicted Brahimaj on charges of torture and sentenced him to six years.

Mr Robinson ordered Haradinaj, Balaj and Brahimaj retried on six counts of the original indictment alleging mistreatment of prisoners at a KLA headquarters and prison in the town of Jablanica.

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