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Kosovo Jubilant at KLA Acquittals
Institute For War And Peace ^ | dec 2nd 2005. | Janet Anderson

Posted on 12/02/2005 3:50:24 PM PST by kronos77

Tribunal Update Tribunal home Kosovo Jubilant at KLA Acquittals

Kosovo’s majority Albanian population welcomes result of Hague tribunal’s first case against former guerrillas.

By Janet Anderson in The Hague (TU No 432, 2-Dec-05) The streets of Pristina erupted with flags, horns and celebratory gunfire on December 1 as news spread that the Hague tribunal had acquitted two of the first three members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, ever to face trial there for war crimes.

Judges in The Hague sentenced one former foot soldier, Haradin Bala, to 13 years in prison for his role in a KLA prison camp in the village of Lapusnik where Serbs and suspected Albanian collaborators were tortured and murdered in 1998.

But they declared themselves unconvinced that former commanders Fatmir Limaj and Isak Musliu had played any role at the facility. Limaj, who held a senior role in the guerrilla army which helped drive Belgrade security forces out of Kosovo, gained a high profile as a politician in the wake of the conflict.

While the verdict has met with a predictably downbeat response in Serbia, reactions amongst Kosovo’s majority ethnic Albanian population have been jubilant. Many feel that the court ruling, despite confirming that horrific individual crimes were committed, vindicates the KLA as an organisation.

The judgement comes at a particularly welcome time for Albanians in Kosovo, with talks set to begin on the future political status of the region. Most hope that the process will result in independence from Belgrade.

Observers in Pristina described a collective sense of relief as the judgement hearing in the case was broadcast live on television screens in homes and bars across Kosovo.

The resulting celebrations were a far cry from the dire predictions published in local newspapers of what might happen if the three were found guilty. Just two days before the judgement was issued, an estimated 20,000 people filed through the streets of Pristina protesting the innocence of the three men.

When Limaj went to The Hague in 2003, Kosovo’s then prime minister, Bajram Rexhepi, declared that the trial would give the accused “a chance to prove his innocence and the purity of the war that was led by the KLA”.

Some observers now see particular significance in the judges’ decision to dismiss charges of crimes against humanity against the three accused. They did so on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence that the atrocities at the Lapusnik camp were committed as “part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population”.

“It’s been understood here as a cleansing of the resistance,” said Petrit Selimi, the managing director of Pristina’s new Daily Express newspaper. The verdict, he explained, has been “seen as recognition that there were [individual] crimes, not a campaign”.

Kosovo parliamentarian Enver Hoxhaj told IWPR that the judgement is “a good message while Kosovo’s final status talks are going on”, explaining that it has given the local population a feeling that they are supported by the international community.

With Kosovo’s president Ibrahim Rugova in bad health and former prime minister Ramus Haradinaj currently awaiting a Hague war crimes trial, there have been concerns that Albanians will lack a strong figurehead for the talks on Kosovo’s future.

Analysts in Kosovo told IWPR that Limaj is viewed by some as having the potential to fill the vacuum. Selimi explained that Limaj is now viewed as a “sympathetic figure” because of the dignity with which he went to The Hague.

Hoxhaj, who is a senior member of Limaj’s Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, told IWPR that he thought Limaj would step back into the “crucial” role he played in the party before being indicted. “We missed him,” he added.

The judgement has also served to support the view that Hague tribunal’s first case involving former KLA fighters was in fact only launched as part of an effort to show the court’s impartiality with regard to the various parties involved in the Balkans conflicts of the Nineties.

A series of senior Serbian generals and politicians, including former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, have been indicted for their role in alleged ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in 1999.

There has also been speculation about what consequences the outcome might have on the joint trial of Haradinaj and two others said to have been his subordinates in the KLA. They are charged with involvement in the abduction and murder of Serbs, Roma and suspected Albanian collaborators.

Edgar Chen, a long-time observer of proceedings at the Hague tribunal for the Coalition for International Justice, told IWPR, however, that it is important to remember that these are two distinct cases. “Haradinaj is charged under a different set of alleged facts,” he said. “Judges will have to consider Haradinaj's case on the evidence that [prosecutors] and his defence presents.”

The judges hearing the case against Limaj, Musliu and Bala in The Hague appeared keen to emphasise that the acquittal of two of the accused did not mean that crimes had not taken place.

They underlined that civilians had been held in horrific conditions at the KLA camp in Lapusnik, with “gross overcrowding” and some chained to the wall; KLA soldiers, often wearing hoods to hide their faces, beat inmates into unconsciousness; detainees, including some who had been shot, were denied medical treatment despite the existence of a clinic in the village where KLA personnel were treated.

Apart from three prisoners who were murdered at the camp itself, Bala was also found to have taken part in the massacre of nine prisoners in nearby mountains.

But the judges said they were not satisfied that Limaj and Musliu held positions in the KLA which would have made them responsible for the camp.

While there was a “strong possibility” that Limaj had been personally present at the facility, they said, there was not enough evidence to convict of personal involvement crimes there. As for Musliu, the judges ruled that there was in fact “little evidence to identify... [him] as having any kind of involvement in the prison camp”.

Meanwhile, reactions in Belgrade to the verdict have been unsurprisingly gloomy. Rasim Ljajic, president of Serbia’s National Council for Cooperation with the Hague tribunal, told the Beta news agency that the result would bolster the positions of those who are hostile to the United Nations court.

Janet Anderson is IWPR’s programme manager in The Hague.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: albania; albanians; balkans; christianity; clintonistas; clintonlegacy; clintonsquagmire; corruption; crime; genocide; humanrights; islam; islamofascists; kla; kosovo; murder; muslims; religion; serbia; terror; wrongplace; wrongside; wrongtime; wrongwar
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1 posted on 12/02/2005 3:50:25 PM PST by kronos77
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To: kronos77

hmm, if they were acquitted, whats wrong with celebrating? am i missing something?

2 posted on 12/02/2005 3:54:31 PM PST by minus_273
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To: kronos77


Photo shows Albanian Child in City that is purged from Christian children, showing Che Guevarra-style poster of Albanian national hero, with Albanian national hero statue behind childe in a place of demolishen Christian king Lazarus statue, that was demolished on ver day that NATO entered city.

3 posted on 12/02/2005 3:55:01 PM PST by kronos77 (Islam will be dealt with. Speak softly and carry a mashinegun with you.)
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To: minus_273

Limaj was comander of camp in wich people were killed. He was acquitted regardless of his command responsability on which accusation against Milosevic is based.
No Serb were acquitted sofar.

Did they acquitted Auschvitz commander in Nurberg?

4 posted on 12/02/2005 3:56:51 PM PST by kronos77 (Islam will be dealt with. Speak softly and carry a mashinegun with you.)
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To: kronos77

Limaj and Musliu, who operated a prison camp in the village of Lapusnik in which 23 Serb and Albanian civilians, suspected of collaborating with Serbian forces, were killed, arrived in Pristina on Thursday night, greeted by a crowd of their supporters. They were acquitted by the Tribunal on Wednesday, while a third indictee, Haradin Bala was sentenced to 13 years for killing nine civilians.

5 posted on 12/02/2005 3:57:35 PM PST by kronos77 (Islam will be dealt with. Speak softly and carry a mashinegun with you.)
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To: kronos77
The title of original article is "Kosovo Jubilant at KLA Acquittals". Your addition to the title is not supported either by the court decision to acquit or by the article contents.
6 posted on 12/02/2005 4:01:18 PM PST by GSlob
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To: GSlob

Title is marked separatly, and qoted properly.
Im not sorry for my opinion.

7 posted on 12/02/2005 4:06:52 PM PST by kronos77 (Islam will be dealt with. Speak softly and carry a mashinegun with you.)
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To: kronos77
Question: Idiot that bombed the hell out of Serbia, letting Kosovo KLA Islamist loose in Europe.

Answer: Who is Bill Clinton.

8 posted on 12/02/2005 4:49:07 PM PST by ricks_place
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To: kronos77

When people change titles, searches don't work.

nuff said.

9 posted on 12/02/2005 4:54:37 PM PST by Nasty McPhilthy (Those who beat their swords into plow shears….will plow for those who don’t.)
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To: kronos77; zagor-te-nej; Lion in Winter; Honorary Serb; jb6; Incorrigible; DTA; ma bell; joan; ...

I'm sure they are carrying on just like that Palestinian woman cheered after 9/11.

Justice will come to Kosovo along with the peace that the Serb Army will bring.

10 posted on 12/02/2005 5:15:42 PM PST by FormerLib (Kosova: "land stolen from Serbs and given to terrorist killers in a futile attempt to appease them.")
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To: kronos77

Spell checkers can be your friend.

11 posted on 12/02/2005 5:51:29 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: kronos77

The place for opinions is in the "comments" section of the posting, not in the title.

12 posted on 12/02/2005 5:53:24 PM PST by GSlob
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To: GSlob

You are dealing with a group of propagandists with a foreign agenda — and an un-American relationship to the truth.

13 posted on 12/02/2005 6:24:59 PM PST by Hunden (Email)
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To: Hunden

Don't I know it - I could smell their crap even from three miles upwind from it. Thus I was constrained to more polite forms of expression.

14 posted on 12/02/2005 8:52:39 PM PST by GSlob
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To: GSlob
Note that the Serbian Communists were equal opportunity murderers: they killed Catholic Croats and Catholic Albanians with the same enthusiasm as they did Muslims. So they, too, were "murderers of Christians".
15 posted on 12/02/2005 10:09:30 PM PST by Hunden (Email)
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To: kronos77

O.J. has got nothing on these "innocents".

16 posted on 12/02/2005 10:33:36 PM PST by montag813
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To: Hunden

Yes, and the Communists oppressed and killed their own Christians as well.

Leftists are scum, didn't you know that?

The difference now is that NATO has joined in the fun and has supported the KLA continuing pogrom against the Serbian Christians while the remaining Communists are safe outside of Kosovo.

17 posted on 12/03/2005 6:52:08 AM PST by FormerLib (Kosova: "land stolen from Serbs and given to terrorist killers in a futile attempt to appease them.")
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To: kronos77

KLA rebels train in terrorist camps

By Jerry Seper

Some members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which has financed its war effort through the sale of heroin, were trained in terrorist camps run by international fugitive Osama bin Laden -- who is wanted in the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 persons, including 12 Americans.

The KLA members, embraced by the Clinton administration in NATO's 41-day bombing campaign to bring Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to the bargaining table, were trained in secret camps in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and elsewhere, according to newly obtained intelligence reports.

The reports also show that the KLA has enlisted Islamic terrorists -- members of the Mujahideen --as soldiers in its ongoing conflict against Serbia, and that many already have been smuggled into Kosovo to join the fight.

Known to its countrymen as the Ushtria Clirimatare e Kosoves, the KLA has as many as 30,000 members, a number reportedly on the rise as a result of NATO's continuing bombing campaign. The group's leadership, including Agim Ceku, a former Croatian army brigadier general, has rapidly become a political and military force in the Balkans.

The intelligence reports document what is described as a "link" between bin Laden, the fugitive Saudi
millionaire, and the KLA --including a common staging area in Tropoje, Albania, a center for Islamic terrorists. The reports said bin Laden's organization, known as al-Qaeda, has both trained and financially supported the KLA.

Many border crossings into Kosovo by "foreign fighters" also have been documented and include veterans of the militant group Islamic Jihad from Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan. Many of the crossings originated in neighboring Albania and, according to the reports, included parties of up to 50 men.

Jane's International Defense Review, a highly respected British Journal, reported in February that documents found last year on the body of a KLA member showed that he had escorted several volunteers into Kosovo, including more than a dozen Saudi Arabians. Each volunteer carried a passport identifying him as a Macedonian Albanian.

Bin Laden and his military commander, Mohammed Atef, were named in a federal indictment handed up in November in New York for the simultaneous explosions Aug. 7 at the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The indictment accused the two men of directing the attacks, which injured more than 5,000 people.

The indictment said bin Laden, working through al-Qaeda, forged alliances with government officials in Iran, the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and an Iranian terrorist organization known as Hezbollah. He was indicted earlier this year by a federal grand jury in New York for his suspected terrorist activities.

The al-Qaeda is believed to have targeted U.S. embassies and American soldiers stationed in Saudi Arabia and Somalia. The organization also is accused of housing and training terrorists, and of raising money to support their causes.

The State Department, along with other federal agencies, offered a $5 million reward last year for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the two men. Mr. Clinton ordered a retaliatory attack on training bases controlled by bin Laden in Afghanistan and a chemical factory near Khartoum, Sudan, after the bombings.

Last year, while State Department officials labeled the KLA a terrorist organization, saying it bankrolled its operations with proceeds from the heroin trade and from loans from known terrorists like bin Laden, the department listed the group as an "insurgency" organization in its official reports. The officials charged that the KLA used terrorist tactics to assault Serbian and ethnic Albanian civilians in a campaign to achieve independence.

The KLA's involvement in drug smuggling as a means of raising funds for weapons is long-standing. Intelligence documents show it has aligned itself with an extensive organized crime network in Albania that smuggles heroin to buyers throughout Western Europe and the United States. Drug agents in five countries believe the cartel is one of the most powerful heroin smuggling organizations in the world.

The documents show heroin and some cocaine is moved over land and sea from Turkey through Bulgaria, Greece and Yugoslavia to Western Europe and elsewhere. The circuit has become known as the "Balkan Route."

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said in a recent report that drug smuggling organizations composed of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians were considered "second only to Turkish gangs as the predominant heroin smugglers along the Balkan Route."

Greek Interpol representatives have called Kosovo's ethnic Albanians "the primary sources of supply for cocaine and heroin in that country."

France's Geopolitical Observatory of Drugs said the KLA was a key player in the rapidly expanding drugs-for-arms business and helped transport $2 billion in drugs a year into Western Europe.

German drug agents said $1.5 billion in drug profits is laundered annually by Kosovo smugglers, through as many as 200 private banks or currency-exchange offices.
Jane's Intelligence Review estimated in March that drug sales could have netted the KLA profits in the "high tens of millions of dollars." It said the KLA had rearmed itself for a spring offensive with the aid of drug money, along with donations from Albanians in Western Europe and the United States.

18 posted on 12/03/2005 6:59:23 AM PST by kabar
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To: FormerLib

Did you think for a moment that the humanists in the Hague would convict an Islamic of murdering subhuman Orthodox Christians?

19 posted on 12/03/2005 12:27:12 PM PST by jb6 (The Atheist/Pagan mind, a quandary wrapped in egoism and served with a side order of self importance)
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To: ValenB4; anonymoussierra; zagor-te-nej; Freelance Warrior; kedr; Sober 4 Today; BrooklynGOP; ...


20 posted on 12/03/2005 12:39:08 PM PST by jb6 (The Atheist/Pagan mind, a quandary wrapped in egoism and served with a side order of self importance)
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