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3rd Witness In Kosovo Trial Faces Tribunal Charges


Third witness in Kosovo trial faces charges at UN tribunal over refusal to testify

A witness who failed to appear before the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia during the trial of the former prime minister of Kosovo has been arrested on contempt of court charges.

Sadri Selca becomes the third witness in the trial of Ramush Haradinaj to be charged with contempt of court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) said in a media statement issued from its headquarters in The Hague yesterday.

Prosecutors have complained throughout the trial of Mr. Haradinaj, who faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, that a climate of intimidation has led to many witnesses refusing to testify. They expect to wrap up their case-in-chief within the next few days.

Mr. Selca was indicted for contempt of court for having failed to appear, without just cause, before the Tribunal on 21 June this year. Another witness, Shefqet Kabashi, was charged after refusing to testify while taking the oath before his testimony on 5 June.

Last week, another witness, Avni Krasniqi, was arrested, charged for failing to comply with a binding order to appear before the ICTY, and detained. Mr. Krasniqi did not enter a plea at his initial appearance before the Tribunal on Monday.

Mr. Haradinaj, 39, was a well-known figure with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the conflict with Serb forces in 1998-99 and later served as the leader of a minority political party and briefly as the province's prime minister.

The indictment against him accuses Mr. Haradinaj of participating in a joint criminal enterprise with two others, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj, between March and September 1998 aimed at consolidating KLA control in the Dukagjin area by attacking, persecuting and forcibly removing Serb civilians and violently suppressing "any real or perceived form of collaboration with the Serbs by Albanian or Roma civilians."

While they may not have physically committed every crime for which they are charged, the indictment states, they are still considered criminally responsible for planning, instigating, ordering or aiding and abetting their commission.

The charges against Mr. Haradinaj include murder, rape, torture, abduction, cruel treatment, harassment and the deportation or forcible transfer of civilians.

ENDS

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