Three Kosovo Albanians sent to UN war crimes tribunal but fourth eludes

All four were charged by Carla Del Ponte, prosecutor for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), on 24 January in a sealed indictment for their actions at a Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) prison camp in 1998, including shooting dead 11 prisoners in a clearing in the woods.In a statement from Podgorica, Montenegro, where she is currently visiting, Ms. Del Ponte was critical of the ease with which the fourth indictee, Fatmir Limaj, was allowed to slip out of Kosovo on a regular flight, although KFOR had been in possession of the indictment and arrest warrant for two and a half weeks.”It was that easy,” Ms. Del Ponte said. “And it is outrageous…Unless he decides to surrender voluntarily, Fatmir Limaj will be yet another name on our long list of indictees at large. As in the other cases, I fully share the sense of immense disappointment, disillusionment and frustration of the victims.”The three transferred to The Hague today were Haradin Bala, Isak Musliu and Agim Murtezi. The charges against the four include crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war.Mr. Limaj, 32, a KLA commander responsible for the operation of the Lapusnik/Llapushnik prison camp, was charged with holding at least 35 Serb and Albanian civilians “under conditions that were brutal and inhumane, and routinely subjected them to physical and psychological abuse, including torture and beatings.”Mr. Bala, 45, Mr. Musliu, 32, and Mr. Murtezi, 46, all KLA members and guards at the camp, enforced inhumane conditions, including inadequate food and medical care, and participated in or aided and abetted the torture and beatings of detainees, the Tribunal said.The indictment charges that between 24 June and 25 July 1998, KLA forces under Mr. Limaj’s command and control beat, tortured and murdered a number of Serb, non-Albanian and Albanian detainees, and that Mr. Bala and Mr. Musliu participated in or aided and abetted the murder of six detainees.