Witness accuses Haradinaj of ordering killings

A protected Hague witness said at the trial of former KLA members he had seen Ramush Haradinaj torture and order executions of prisoners at the Jablanica camp.

Source: Tanjug
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Haradinaj is a former leader of the ethnic Albanian KLA. After the war in Kosovo, he was at one point the prime minister of the government in Priština.

The witness, introduced under the pseudonym of 81, stated on Tuesday that Haradinaj interrogated a young Serb man about the locations of "Serbian tanks and checkpoints", but when he received no answer, he punched the prisoner several times.

"He might have been upset because the prisoner was not responding. Two Roma were also there, begging Haradinaj in Albanian not to kill them. Others beat them with baseball bats. They cut off one of the Roma's ears and shortly after one of the Serb's ears as well," the witness said in Serbian.

After 45 minutes of beating and torture, the prisoners were unable to stand on their feet or talk and Haradinaj then ordered their execution, the witness stated.

According to the indictment, the three victims were from the village of Dolac. The Serb was 24-year-old Ivan Zarić, while the two Roma were identified as Agron Berisha and Burim Bejta - aged 15 and 16.

Witness 81 also said he arrived at the KLA headquarters in Jablanica in 1998 and witnessed torture at the camp commanded by Lahi Brahimaj.

Brahimaj, Haradinaj and Idriz Balaj stand accused of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war in Kosovo in 1998 - a year before the war broke out.

Haradinaj and Balaj were released after their original trial, while Brahimaj received a 6-year sentence.

The appeals chamber ordered a retrial on 37 counts of the indictment, for reasons of witness intimidation in the orginal process. This is the first retrial in the history of the UN war crimes court.

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