The Office of the Prosecutor of the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has denied claims by Belgrade that prosecution witnesses in the case of former Kosovo Liberation Army commander Ramush Haradinaj were killed, Serbian news agency Beta reported from The Hague on Wednesday.
Frederick Swinnen, a political adviser at the Office of the Prosecutor, expressed surprise at the statement made by Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic on Wednesday that "19 potential witnesses" had been murdered due to the poor work of ICTY investigators. Swinnen said that this was misrepresentation of facts and that the reality was quite the opposite.
There is no evidence that any of the witnesses was killed just because they were on the list of witnesses for the Haradinaj trial, Swinnen said. He recalled that Vukcevic had earlier spoken of an even larger number of murdered witnesses, but that after talks with ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz he had corrected his statement and admitted that the information was incorrect.
We are surprised that such information appears again, Swinnen said.