This case summary is part of a collection of summaries describing the cases before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). See the Online Resource Hub pages on the ICTY and International Criminal Law, and the table of ICTY case summaries for additional information.
Trial Judgment: 29 November 2012; Appeal Judgment: 19 July 2010
Ramush Haradinaj, a commander of the KLA in the Dukagjin operational zone, Idriz Balaj, the commander of the KLA special unit “Black Eagles” and subordinate to Haradinaj, and Lahi Brahimaj, member of the KLA General Staff and subordinate to Haradinaj, stood trial for allegedly having planned, instigated, ordered, committed, or otherwise aided and abetted the planning, preparation, or execution of crimes against Serbs in the Kosovo area. The prosecution accused them of participation in a joint criminal enterprise and individual criminal responsibility for crimes against humanity for persecutions, deportation or forcible transfer, imprisonment, torture, other inhumane acts, abduction, and serious physical or mental injury; and for violations of the laws or customs of war for torture, murder, cruel treatment.
In 2008, the Trial Chamber found Haradinaj and Balaj not guilty of all charges, and convicted Brahimaj of violations of the laws or customs of war for cruel treatment and torture.
In 2010, the Appeals Chamber dismissed Brahimaj’s appeals and heard the prosecution’s appeal; the Appeals Chamber determined that the Trial Chamber erred when it refused the prosecution’s requests for additional time to exhaust reasonable steps to secure the testimony of two witnesses and when the Trial Chamber ordered the close of the prosecution’s case before such steps could be taken; the Appeals Chamber ordered a partial retrial with regards to the relevant charges. In 2012, the Trial Chamber found the defendants not guilty of the charges brought during the retrial. The Trial Chamber sentenced Brahimaj to six years’ imprisonment, which was upheld on appeal.