Numerous outlets have provided detailed coverage of the acquittal at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) of the former prime minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, and two other defendants against charges that they participated in the torture and killing of Serb civilians in 1999.
Among many interesting angles, the one we highlight here is the case’s anticipated effect of deepening the distrust of the tribunal among Serbia’s leadership and Serbs generally. Our recent feature article Last Stop Belgrade explored Serbia’s complex relationship with the ICTY, which is viewed in the country as being biased against Serbs. The article also focused on efforts by Serbia’s domestic War Crimes Chamber – which enjoys greater legitimacy in Serbia – to complement the efforts of the ICTY.
As Marlise Simons’ article in the Times explains, the acquittals follow an extremely controversial ICTY appellate decision in a separate case that overturned convictions of two Croatian generals for crimes against Serbs in 1995.
The reactions in the region were somewhat predictable: Haradinaj returned home to much fanfare while Serbia President Tomislav Nikolic criticized the ruling.