Haradin Bala

01.05.2016 ( Last modified: 08.06.2016 )
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facts

Haradin Bala was born on 10 June 1957 in Gornja Koretica (Koroticë E Epërme) in the Municipality of Glogovac (Gllogoc), Kosovo.

In early 1998, after years of increasing violence and tension, armed conflict broke out in Kosovo between Serb Forces and the “Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës” (UCK) known in English under the name of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

Just as with Serb civilians, Albanian civilians who were perceived by the KLA as either refusing to cooperate with or as resisting the KLA by non military means, were targeted for intimidation, imprisonment, violence and murder.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) indicted Haradin Bala, who, at the time, was a member of the KLA and Commander of the Lapusnik (Llapushnik) camp, for having individually or in concert with other members of the joint criminal enterprise, participated in the joint criminal enterprise in the following ways:

– he personally participated in the detention of Serb civilians and perceived Albanian collaborators at the Lapusnik (Llapushnik) prison camp,
– he personally participated in the interrogation of Serb civilians and perceived Albanian collaborators at the Lapusnik (Llapushnik) prison camp. ,
– he personally participated in the brutal and inhumane treatment, physical and psychological assault, torture, and beatings of Serb civilians and perceived Albanian collaborators imprisoned at the Lapusnik (Llapushnik) prison camp,
– he personally participated in the murder of Serb civilians and perceived Albanian collaborators imprisoned at the Lapusnik (Llapushnik) prison camp and participated in the concealment of these crimes through the burial of their bodies.
– he planned, instigated, ordered and personally participated in the murder of ten Albanian civilians in the Berisa (Berisha) mountains on or about 26 July 1998.
– he participated in efforts to keep the existence of the Lapusnik/Llapushnik prison camp, and events that occurred there, secret by threatening prisoners not to observe or discuss events occurring in the camp.

All of the acts, or failures on the part of the accused to prevent them, were indicative of the existence of a large scale, systematic plan to attack the Serb civilian population and those Albanian civilians who, according to the KLA had either refused to cooperate or had resisted the KLA by non-military means.

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), issued an indictment against Haradin Bala on 24 January 2003.

On 17 February 2003, Bala was apprehended by KFOR and transferred the next day to the ICTY.

legal procedure

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), issued an indictment against Fatmir Limaj, Isak Musliu and Haradin Bala on 24 January 2003.

On 17 February 2003, Bala was apprehended by KFOR and transferred the next day to the ICTY

On 12 February 2004, the ICTY Prosecutor amended the indictment, by detailing the individual charges leveled against each of the accused.

The indictment was kept confidential until 18 February 2003 in order to facilitate the arrest of these three individuals.

On 17 February 2003, Limaj, Musliu and Bala were arrested by the KFOR..

During his initial court appearance, on 20 February 2003, Bala pleaded not guilty to all of the charges brought against him.

Haradin Bala wascharged on the grounds of his individual criminal responsibility (Art. 7 § 1 of the Statute) for:
– 5 counts of crimes against humanity (Art. 5 of the Statute: imprisonment; torture; inhuman acts; murder) and
– 5 counts of violations of the laws or customs of war (Art. 3 of the Statute: cruel treatment; torture; murder).

His trial began on 15 November 2004 before a the Second Trial Chamber of the ICTY. Haradin Bala was tried together with Fatmir Limaj and Isak Musliu.

On 30 November 2005, Haradin Bala was found guilty of torture, cruel treatment and murder. This related to the mistreatment of three prisoners at the Llapushnik/Lapusnik prison camp; his personal role in the “maintenance and enforcement of the inhumane conditions” of the camp; aiding the torture of one prisoner; and participation in the murder of nine prisoners from the camp who were marched to the Berishe/Berisa Mountains on 25 or 26 July 1998 and murdered. Seven counts against him were dismissed.

He was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment.

On 30 December 2005, the Prosecution and the Defence for Haradin Bala both filed their notices of appeal.. An appeals hearing was held on 5 and 6 June 2007

On 27 September 2007 the Appeals Chamber upheld the judgment.

Bala was transferred to France on 15 May 2008 in order to serve there the remainder of his sentence.

On 31 December 2012, Bala was granted early release.

spotlight

The trial of Fatmir Limaj, Isak Musliu and Haradin Bala is the first one to be held by the ICTY against members of the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army). The judgment of 30 November 2005 is the first to be handed down by the Tribunal relating to crimes alleged to have been committed in Kosovo.

context

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

The conflict in former Yugoslavia from 1991 to 1999, shocked international public opinion because of the abuses revealed by the press, which were committed by all parties to the conflict (massacres, forced displacements of population, concentration camps …). The conflict is considered to consist of several separate conflicts, which were ethnic in nature – the war in Slovenia (1991), the war in Croatia (1991-1995), the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1995) and the war Kosovo (1998-1999), which also involved the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.

The conflicts accompanied the break-up of Yugoslavia, when the constituent republics declared their independence. The wars mostly ended after peace accords were signed, and new republics were given full international recognition of their statehood.

In order to restore peace and security in the region, the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of UN Charter, created on 25 May 1993, by Resolution 827, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). It was determined that pursuant to numerous reports of, among other, mass killings, systematic detention, rapes, practice of “ethnic cleansing”, transfers, etc., these acts constituted a threat to international peace and security, necessitating a reaction by Security Council. As the Tribunal was created during the ongoing conflict, the Security Council expressed its hopes that ICTY would contribute to halting violations in the region. Its headquarters are in The Hague, Netherlands.

The Tribunal has jurisdiction to prosecute persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law – grave breaches of Geneva Conventions, violations of laws and customs of war, genocide and crimes against humanity – allegedly committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia after 1 January 1991, (no end date was specified). Since its creation, the ICTY has indicted more than 160 people, including heads of states and government members.

The Tribunal’s mandate was originally meant to expire on 31 December 2009, but the Security Council voted unanimously to extend the mandate of the Court with several judges, including permanent judges, so that the ongoing trials can be completed. According to the “ICTY Completion Strategy Report” from 18 May 2011, all trials were supposed to be completed by the end of 2012, and all the appeals by the end of 2015. The exceptions were cases of Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic.

The Security Council adopted resolution 1966 on 22 December 2010, establishing International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. The ICTY residual mechanism began functioning on 1 July 2013.

The Tribunal was called to finish its work by the end of 2014, in order to prepare closure and transfer of cases to the Residual Mechanism. The Mechanism is a small and temporary body, which plays important role in ensuring that the completion strategy of ICTY does not result in impunity of fugitives and in injustice. It is conducting all outstanding first instance trials, including those of Karadzic, Mladic and Hadzic. It is also to complete all appeals proceedings that were filed before 1 July 2013.

The ICTY is not the only court with jurisdiction to try alleged perpetrators of serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the former Yugoslavia. The Tribunal has concurrent jurisdiction with national courts. However, it takes precedence over them and may require the referral from the national court at any stage of the proceedings (Article 9 of the ICTY Statute). The Statute does not elaborate how the primacy is to be exercised, but it was asserted by the judges of the ICTY in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. The primacy can be asserted in three cases: when an international crime is intentionally or unwittingly prosecuted before national court as an “ordinary criminal offence”, when a national court is unreliable, or when the case is closely related, or may be relevant to other cases being tried by the ICTY.

NATIONAL JURISDICTIONS

National courts also have jurisdiction to prosecute alleged perpetrators of serious violations of international humanitarian law.

In the former Yugoslavia, the trials of those accused of war crimes have been opened by the courts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Section for War Crimes was set up in the Criminal and Appellate Divisions of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Special Chamber for War Crimes has jurisdiction to prosecute the most serious alleged war crimes committed in Bosnia, and was created to relieve the ICTY, so that it can focus on criminals of high rank. Its establishment was also considered necessary for effective war crimes prosecution in Bosnia. The opening of the Special Chamber was on 9 March 2005.

Additionally, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1244 from 10 June 1999, UN administration was created in Kosovo. Consequently, in 2000 “Regulation 64” Panels in Courts of Kosovo were created, which are mixed chambers at the local courts. They have two international judges and one national. These panels work in collaboration with the ICTY. They have jurisdiction over those responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. They focus on prosecuting lower ranking offenders.

In Serbia, the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor was established on 1 July 2003. It was created to detect and prosecute perpetrators of criminal offenses against humanity and international law, and offences recognised by the ICTY Statute, regardless of the nationality, citizenship, race or religion of the perpetrator and the victim, as long as the acts were committed on the territory of former Yugoslavia after 1 January 1991. Its seat is in Belgrade, Serbia.

Other relevant national jurisdictions are under the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows states with a specific legal basis, to try perpetrators of serious crimes regardless of their nationality or that of the victims and regardless of where the crime was committed.