Kosovo duo facing trial at UN tribunal over alleged intimidation of witness

28 April 2008Kosovo’s ex-minister for culture, youth and sport and a former newspaper editor will appear tomorrow before the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) after being charged with contempt of court for allegedly trying to intimidate a witness in a war crimes trial. Astrit Haraqija and Bajrush Morina are accused by prosecutors – in an indictment filed in January and made public by the ICTY on Friday – of attempting to persuade a protected witness with the codename PW not to testify against Ramush Haradinaj, the former prime minister of Kosovo.Mr. Haradinaj, who was a prominent commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the conflict with Serb forces in 1998-99, was acquitted by the ICTY earlier this month of a series of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, torture, abduction, cruel treatment, imprisonment and the forced deportation of Serbian and Kosovar Roma civilians.When they announced the verdict, the judges said the tribunal had encountered many difficulties in securing testimony from witnesses during the trials of Mr. Haradinaj and his two co-accused.The indictment released on Friday states that Mr. Haraqija, a former minister of culture, youth and sport in Kosovo, was one of the three co-founders of the “Defence Committee for Ramush Haradinaj.” Mr. Morina was his employee, working as a political adviser, and then also as a part-time editor at Bota Sot, a Kosovo newspaper.PW was granted protective measures in 2005 and early last year his unredacted witness statements were disclosed by prosecutors to the defence teams of Mr. Haradinaj and his co-accused.The indictment alleges that after learning of the identity of the witness last July, Mr. Haraqija instructed Mr. Morina to travel to PW’s country of residence to persuade him not to testify, and that Mr. Morina met with the witness on 10-11 July in a trip paid for by the ministry.PW eventually did testify at the trial, according to the indictment.Meanwhile, a former senior Bosnian Croat figure, Jadranko Prlić, facing trial on war crimes charges has been granted temporary provisional leave by the ICTY on humanitarian grounds. On Friday the tribunal agreed to release Mr. Prlić until the start of his defence case, scheduled for Monday.Mr. Prlic and five other co-accused, all former high-level leaders in the Bosnian Croat wartime entity known as Herceg-Bosna, stand accused of war crimes committed in 1992 and 1993 against Bosnian Muslims and other non-Croats in south-western and central Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially the municipalities of Prozor, Gornji Vakuf, Jablanica, Mostar, Ljubuški, Stolac, Capljina and Vareš.The many charges include murder, rape, unlawful deportation, imprisonment, cruel treatment, unlawful labour, the wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, and persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds. read more

Details

Top Justice official for Guerin grilling today Commissioner also facing TDs questions

first_img09.30am: Minister Leo Varadkar’s before the Transport Committee first thing. They’ll be discussing the forthcoming Transport, Telecommunications and Energy EU Council meeting. Committee Room 4.  5pm:Brian Purcell, the top official at the Department of Justice, faces questions from a panel of TDs and senators today. Purcell had requested not to be questioned about the events surrounding the departure of former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, but the Justice Committee has insisted it will ask any questions within its remit. (Committee Room 2) 09.30am: Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore (yes, he’s still the Minister) takes questions pertaining to his Department.  3pm: Statements on the ‘Youth Guarantee’ employment programme, followed at 5pm by work on the second stage of the Companies Bill 2012. The day concludes with members conducting their own version of Topical Issues: Matters on the Adjournment.  Here’s how to watch what’s going on in Leinster House today:Dáil ÉireannSeanad ÉireannCommittee Room 1Committee Room 2Committee Room 3Committee Room 4To access streams on iOS, click here 2pm: The Ambassador of Nigeria Felix Yusufu Pwol gives an update on the situation in the country to the Committee on Foreign Affairs this afternoon. It comes in the context of the continuing effort to rescue over 200 abducted schoolgirls. Everything else happening in the committees 12.45pm: Senators discuss issues facing the maternity departments at Sligo, Mayo, Letterkenny and Portiuncula hospitals. 1.51pm: Topical Issues: Members raise issues of concern to their constituents and the wider electorate. What issues, you ask? Details will be published here.  10.30am: Work commences in the upper chamber, with the Central Bank Bill 2014 the main focus of the morning. Midday: Leaders Questions: TDs question the Government on all manner of things… Expect plenty of attempted post-election points scoring. 7.30pm: More debate on Mick Wallace’s bill aimed at strengthening the Garda Ombudsman (GSOC) and setting up a new Garda Siochána Independent Board. Everything happening in the Seanad 4.30pm: The Guerin Report is also on the Dáil’s agenda today. Initially set up to investigate a number of allegations of serious garda misconduct made by whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe, the report has now led to a statutory inquiry. TDs have their say on it for three hours this evening.  Like politics? Then why not ‘Like’ TheJournal.ie’s Politics page?Explainer: How does a bill become a law? > 2pm: Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan will be before the Justice Committee this afternoon to discuss the effectiveness of the Garda Síochána Act 2005. Committee Room 2. 2pm: Fun times for the Global Taxation sub committee this afternoon. They’ll be discussing “the global corporate/multinational taxation architecture and Ireland’s relationship with that tax architecture”. Committee Room 4. 4pm: There’s a behind-closed-doors meeting of the Dáil’s Procedure and Privileges Committee in Committee Room 2. The Public Service Oversight and Petitions Committee also meets at the same time, in Committee Room 3. Everything else happening in the Dáil WHAT’S GOING ON in Leinster House?Every day the Dáil and Seanad are sitting, TheJournal.ie brings you the most comprehensive guide to what our lawmakers are getting up to in the Houses of the Oireachtas.So, here is what we can expect to be happening in the Dáil, Seanad and Committee rooms today…3 things we’ll be keeping an eye on 1pm: The Education and Social Protection Committee gets an update on the implementation of the ‘Youth Guarantee’ employment scheme. Committee Room 3. last_img read more

Details