Thursday, December 01, 2005

ICTY acquits former Kosova Liberation Army commander

The leading front-page story in all daily newspapers this morning is the coverage
on the ICTY verdict on Fatmir Limaj, Isak Musliu and Haradin Balaj. All dailies
report that Limaj and Musliu have been acquitted of all charges and that Balaj was
sentenced to 13 years in prison.
According to Koha Ditore, Limaj and Musliu are expected to return to Pristina
today.

Dailies carry reactions from local and international senior officials in regard to the
ICTY decision. Zëri reports that PDSRSG Rossin and COMKFOR Valotto have
issued a joint press release saying that the Hague Tribunal is an independent
judicial body and that UNMIK and KFOR cannot comment on the decisions of the
court.

“There is justice, Limaj returns home”, reports Koha Ditore on the front page.
Zëri quotes PDK Secretary General Jakup Krasniqi as saying: “This is a victory
for the entire Albanian people”. “We welcome the ICTY decision to release Limaj
and Musliu, and we hope that Haradin Balaj too will soon be with his family,”
Krasniqi added.

Epoka e Re refers to the ICTY decision as historic. The paper also quotes
representatives of the KLA War Associations as saying Haradin Balaj should be
released, too. “Balaj pays the price of Kosovo’s freedom. Balaj is the first
Albanian to be declared guilty by the ICTY for criminal acts during the war in
Kosovo,” the paper reports.
All dailies carry pictures from the celebrations in several towns of Kosovo.

Meanwhile Serbian politicians reacted with dismay to his release.
Jovan Simic, Advisor to the Serbian President, was quoted by RTS as asking
" how is it possible that no indicted Serb in ICTY has been acquitted so far?".

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