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Kosovo: a war crimes trial
Monday, 12 March 2007 10:48
by Brian Barder

My confident guess is that 75% of the westerners who notice a headline about a war crimes trial concerning Kosovo will automatically assume that the defendants facing war crimes charges are Serbs, with their unsavoury reputation for ethnic cleansing and attendant brutalities.  Actually the chief defendant who went on trial last week is a Kosovo Albanian, a former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (freedom fighters or separatist terrorists, according to taste) whose violent campaign against Serbian rule provoked the disproportionately savage Serbian repression which in turn led to the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, which in turn aggravated and accelerated the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo by the Serbs and drove thousands of Kosovo Albanians into squalid refugee camps in neighbouring countries (note:  this happened after the start of the NATO bombing, which can't therefore be justified as having been designed to stop it).

According to an AP report of 2 March 2007 in the International Herald Tribune, –

Former Kosovo Prime Minister and rebel commander Ramush Haradinaj pleaded innocent Thursday at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal to charges of involvement in the murder, rape and torture of Serbs and suspected Serb collaborators in the province's 1998-1999 war.

Haradinaj is scheduled to go on trial starting Monday together with two other former KLA fighters, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj. Prosecutors say all three were part of a criminal plot to drive Serbian forces out of the Western Kosovo region of Dukagjin.

The trio sat impassively as presiding judge Alphons Orie read out a total of 37 war crimes charges against them, including multiple counts of murder, persecution and torture against each. A conviction on any charge could carry a sentence of up to life in prison….

Ramush turned to politics after the war and was prime minister for 100 days before being indicted by U.N. prosecutors in 2005.

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The same report mentions in passing that –

After NATO air strikes against Serb forces ended fighting in 1999, Haradinaj transformed himself from a tough KLA commander — prosecutors say ruthless — into a political leader… [my emphasis — BLB]
– thus once again helping to perpetuate the myth that it was the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia that "ended fighting in 1999".  Actually the NATO bombing did no such thing;  it accomplished nothing but the killing of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent civilians, the destruction of much of the economic infrastructure of Belgrade and neighbouring countries, and the inevitable revival of Serbian nationalistic support for the crook Milosevic.

What ended the Serbian repression in Kosovo and some (but not all) of the ruthless activities of the KLA was the constructive and flexible behind-the-scenes diplomacy of the emissaries of the US and Russian governments and of the then President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari.  But the myths are well on the way to being accepted as historical truth.  (Don't blame me: I've tried to do my tiny bit to stem this tide, as you can see from e.g. this, and in more detail this.  But it's hopeless.)
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Comments (4)add comment

a guest said:

Many thanks for your efforts.
I thank you Brian, for your efforts in bringing the reality & truth to events surrounding the invasion of Serbia's province of Kosovo & Metohija by NATO. It brings back a sense of fairness and understanding - a feeling of belonging and understanding why my Grandfather was priveleged to settle in GREAT Britain following the Second World War. The Serbs have been demonised too much for the collapse of Yugoslavia but they were in fact it's most ardent supporters and would have wanted to live in a multi-ethnic state that respected all peoples as equal. The truth is being given a lease of life by the many people examplified by yourself and it is certain that the myth of this disastrous "Humanitarian intervention" [sic] will be shown for what it is.
March 12, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:


How is it possible you know the history of NATO liberation of Kosovo in 1999 better than people who were liberated, namely the people of Kosovo. Ask the people of Kosovo what they think about the war of NATO and KLA and I assure you 99.9% will tell you- it saved them from a thug called Milosevic and his henchmen. I am only one of those 99.9 % who lived under Milosevic's inhumane regime for more than 10 years and had it not been for the joint effor of NATO and KLA people of Kosovo would still be in slavery. Thank you NATO. Thank you KLA.
March 12, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

Thank you Brian, although i think it is never too late for the truth to be revealed. We are still re-creating history today which occured decades ago, it changes like the wind and really depends on the political climate of the day. The unjustifiable anti-Serb sentiment of the 90's, is now becoming a thing of the past. Slowly more truths will be revealed
March 12, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

Great Article Brian,

look forward to many more on the real truth about the failed and deceiptful "Humanitarian intervention".

I guess Guest No. 2 even voted for this thug and would likely vote again - so much for providing a safe environment for all non-Albanians to live and it is no wonder they are not given statehood - it would rapidly become the Afhagnistan of Europe - fairly close at the moment!
March 12, 2007
Votes: +0

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