Press Statement by the Haradinaj Defence On 2 February 2023, the Appeals Panel of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, a domestic judicial organ that has its seat in The Hague, issued its appeal judgment in the case of the Specialist Prosecutor v. Hysni Gucati and Nasim Haradinaj in which it reduced the sentence by three months.
The Haradinaj Defence team would like to express its profound disappointment with regards to the findings of the appeal judgment and confirm we will seek to appeal the judgment to the Supreme Court Panel of the Specialist Chambers.
Whilst the Appeals Panel quite rightly acquitted Mr. Haradinaj of Court 2, Obstructing Official Persons in Performing Official Duties, it failed to consider sufficiently the remaining grounds of appeal and failed to address properly the arguments that go to the heart of the process, the lack of fairness of proceedings.
We note the dissenting opinion of Judge Kai Ambos, which would have in addition acquitted Mr. Haradinaj of a further obstruction count and would have reduced his sentence by a further 3 months. His dissenting opinion highlights the varied interpretation across the Appeal Panel. Nonetheless, in our submission there were enough substantive grounds of appeal to justify, at the very least, a retrial.
On behalf of Mr. Nasim Haradinaj we set out 23 grounds of appeal against conviction and 1 consolidated ground of appeal against sentence. In our appeal, we set out in detail the numerous errors of law and fact that we considered the trial panel made, errors so fundamental that they affect the safety of the convictions. We argued extensively that Mr. Haradinaj did not receive a fair trial and that there were serious procedural irregularities. In particular we argued that the prosecution had failed to establish the charges on the evidence beyond reasonable doubt, that there had been numerous and persistent disclosure violations by the prosecution, that the failure to properly investigate the source of the leak of the documents constituted a serious failure, and that there was a failure to properly or adequately investigate credible claims of entrapment or displace the suggestion that any action taken was done in the public interest.
On behalf of Mr. Haradinaj we argued that the errors identified in the grounds of appeal, had occasioned a miscarriage of justice with respect to the totality of the convictions imposed and the only correct remedy was to reverse the convictions. The reduction of three months, in our view, does not remedy the manifestly disproportionate sentence imposed.
This is the first appeal at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers to be concluded and therefore the judgment rendered is highly significant. We exposed serious deficiencies in the trial process, and we are disappointed that the Appeals Panel failed to properly recognise these deficiencies and rule accordingly.
It is of some concern to Mr. Haradinaj that the Appeals Panel referred in their summary to his transfer to another State, where he would serve the remainder of his sentence, given that the defence are not aware of any arrangements that are in place to facilitate this nor have the Haradinaj Defence been invited to advance submissions. Pending an appeal to the Supreme Court Panel, Mr. Haradinaj should remain in the Detention Unit in The Hague and with regards to any transfer, Mr. Haradinaj would expect to be transferred ultimately to serve any sentence in the Republic of Kosovo, as it must be reminded that this is not an international or ad hoc tribunal, but a domestic judicial organ.
Mr. Haradinaj maintains that any disclosures were in the public interest to highlight the improper and selective prosecutorial policy, the influence of Serbia on the process and that the numerous massacres committed throughout the conflict by Serbian military and paramilitary forces have not and will not be investigated.
Joint Head of Chambers | Guernica 37 Chambers | Six Pump Court, First Floor West, Temple, London EC4Y 7AR
Email: email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | Direct Dial: +44 20 3597 7130 | Mobile: +44 78080 71111 |