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.


Limaj et al. (IT-03-66)

Trial Judgment: 30 November 2005; Appeal Judgment: 27 September 2007

Fatmir Limaj and Isak Musliu, commanders in the KLA responsible for the Lapušnik/Llapushnik area and prison camp, and Haradin Bala, a guard at the KLA Lapušnik/Llapushnik prison camp, stood trial for allegedly having planned, instigated, ordered, committed, or otherwise aided and abetted in the planning, preparation, or execution of the imprisonment, torture, murder, cruel treatment, and torture of Serb and Albanian citizens in and around the Lapušnik/Llapushnik municipality and prison camp; this case marks the first judgment ruling by the ICTY on the situation in Kosovo. The prosecution accused Limaj and Musliu, on the basis of superior and individual criminal responsibility, and Bala, on the basis of individual criminal responsibility, with crimes against humanity for imprisonment, torture, inhumane acts, and murder; and violations of the laws or customs of war for cruel treatment, torture, and murder.

In 2005, the Trial Chamber convicted Bala with violations of the laws and customs of war for torture, cruel treatment, and murder; the Trial Chamber acquitted Limaj and Musliu of all charges in the indictment, finding that the prosecution was unable to establish that they held a position of command in the KLA which included command of the KLA soldiers in the village or prison camp of Llapushnik/Lapušnik.

In 2007, the Appeals Chamber dismissed Bala’s appeals and the appeals from the prosecution regarding the three defendants. The Trial Chamber sentenced Bala to 13 years’ imprisonment, which was confirmed by the Appeals Chamber.