International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Reopening old wounds?

The UK newspaper, The Guardian, reported this weekend on the re-trial of Ramush Haradinaj, former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and former Prime Minister of Kosovo, for war crimes. There is a significant split between the support and opposition for the retrial, after having been initially acquitted by The Hauge in 2008. Sir Geoffrey Nice, having been involved in the trial of Slobodan Milošević as a deputy prosecutor among his other work with the ICTY, commented that “Two or three teams of lawyers in the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICTY refused to indict Haradinaj because there was insufficient evidence.” He also suggested that the current retrial could be politically driven suggesting that the prosecution was pursued “Arguably for political reasons because Serbia was complaining about an insufficient number of Kosovars being pursued.” Carla Del Ponte, the former chief prosecutor of the ICTY, however, is hopeful that the trial will result in a conviction. 

Politically driven moves in the ICTY prosecutions have been a key criticism of the tribunal for a long time. However, Aleksandar Vulin, the head of the Serbian government office for Kosovo, brings up an interesting point, stating “An acquittal of Haradinaj by the ICTY would be a message that it is allowed to kill Serbs in Kosovo. How can we talk about the fate of missing persons, justice for those killed and return of those exiled, if a man who talk part in all this is set free?” It is once again a question of peace versus justice and striking the fine balance between the two to reach an outcome that is amicable to all the sides and does right by all the injustices committed during these atrocities.

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One response to “Reopening old wounds?

  1. mrmaroon14 December 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I believe this is a perfect example of the real world struggle of Peace vs. Justice. After Haradinaj was acquitted in 2008, with much disappointment resulting from it, Kosovo was relatively peaceful with conflict associated with Haradinaj. This apparent peace though could never be sustained, due to the fact that there is a significant portion of the population that believes justice was not served in his case. Due to that belief, I think that the relative peace is over.

    The re-opening of this trial will force every one of the citizens in Kosovo to pick a side. It will do nothing but escalate once it begins. In the Akhavan article he speaks directly to the situation where states attempt to pursue peace and justice simultaneously and basically says there is no plausible way to obtain a positive outcome. This may be the situation that Kosovo finds itself in again very soon because they didn’t have enough peace to calm their hunger for justice.

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