Kosovo: Journalist to be charged with contempt of UN court

Pristina, 21 May (AKI) – Kosovo Albanian journalist Baton Hadziju has been arrested and faces charges for contempt of the United Nations' Hague-based Yugoslav war crimes tribunal after he allegedly identified a secret witness in a trial.

Hadziju, until recently the editor of the leading Albanian language daily Koha ditore and currently director of another daily Ekspres, was arrested in Pristina on Tuesday and has been transferred to The Hague (photo), Kosovo police said.

Prosecutors at the tribunal allege that Baton Haxhiu, the editor of a newspaper, last year obtained information about a witness with a protected identity and then disclosed the witness’s identity in an article he published.

He has been charged with contempt of the court for revealing the name of a protected witness in the trial of former Kosovo prime minister Ramus Haradinaj, accused of war crimes against Serb civilians during the 1999 ethnic Albanian rebellion against Belgrade's rule.

Haxhiu is the third Kosovo Albanian to be charged with contempt of court in the past month. All three cases are related to the recent trial of Haradinaj and others.

Astrit Haracija and Bajrus Morina were charged for influencing witnesses in April, but were set free after pleading not guilty, until the beginning of the trial in June.

Several potential witnesses against Haradinaj died in under mysterious circumstances before the trial and ICTY prosecutors have complained of intimidation of witnesses.

Haradinaj was acquitted in April for lack of evidence, but the prosecutors have said they would appeal the case.

If convicted, Hadziju could face five years in jail or a 100,000 euros fine, or both.


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