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ICTY acquits former Kosovo PM of war crimes charges

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive] Thursday acquitted [judgment summary; press release] former Kosovo prime minister and Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commander Ramush Haradinaj [BBC profile] of all charges. Haradinaj and his two co-defendants, KLA fighters Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj [Trial Watch profiles], were charged [JURIST report] with 37 counts of war crimes, including murder, persecution, and rape [amended indictment, PDF]. Balaj was also acquitted of all charges, but Brahimaj was convicted of mistreating a detainee and ordering the mistreatment of another. Brahimaj was sentenced to six years in jail. Reuters has more.

Haradinaj was a senior commander of the KLA, the ethnic Albanian guerrilla force that opposed Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive] during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war [BBC backgrounder]. He was indicted [initial indictment, PDF] by ICTY prosecutors in 2005. In a court appearance with Balaj and Brahimaj last year, he pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the charges.

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