The facts: Ramush Haradinaj

Published on May 3, 2006, Trial Watch

Category: Meet the Muslim Albanian Leaders

context: Former Yugoslavia judgement place: ICTY (Yugoslavia) status: Indicted particulars: Indicted by the ICTY, Ramush Haradinaj turned himself voluntarily into the custody of the Tribunal; provisionally released on June 7, 2005 position: Commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) Ramush Haradinaj was born on 3 July 1968 in the village of Glodjane in Kosovo. In 1989, following demonstrations by Kosovar Albanians. he emigrated to Switzerland where he became an active member of the People’s Movement of Kosovo, the future Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). In 1996, he set up terrorist bases in the cities of Kuks and Tropoja. In 1997 he settled down definitively in Kosovo. In March 1998 he became one of the Zone Commanders of the KLA. According to the indictment, he is was reported to be one of the founders of the special unit “The Black Eagles”, which was set up in Glodjane. This organisation was suspected of being responsible for acts of torture and the murder of dozens of Serbs and Kosovar Albanian civilians (who were accused of collaborating with the Serbian enemy). On 24 March 1998, the forces of the KLA mounted a systematic campaign aimed at driving ethnic Serbs out of Kosovo. The KLA forces, acting under the direct command of Ramush Haradinaj and, especially, the “Black Eagles” (commanded by Idriz Balaj one of co-accused under the ICTY Prosecutor’s indictment; see “related cases”), harassed, beat, expelled, abducted, detained, and tortured Serbian and Roma civilians from villages located in the region of Glodjane. There were reports that 25 Serbian policemen were targeted under this campaign and that more than 60 Serbian and Albanian civilians were abducted and subsequently executed between March and September 1998. On 12 September 1998, a Serbian forensic police team found the remains of at least 30 bodies by the side of a canal close to Lake Radonjic. The bodies of 6 other people were discovered at the Ekonomija farm and those of at least 3 other victims on the road leading to Dasinovac. Charges were laid against Ramush Haradinaj on all of the above cases on the grounds that he, as Commander of the KLA at the time of the events in question, had total command of the KLA forces in the whole of the Glodjane operational zone. Indicted on 4 March 2005 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Prosecutor, Ramush Haradinaj voluntarily turned himself in to the custody of the ICTY.

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