The Kosovo Indictment, by Michael O’Reilly

Second paragraph of third chapter:

Several children and a pregnant woman were among the 24 people killed in these two actions, most of them from just two families – Ahmeti and Sejdiu. Both families were associated with the KLA and the evidence suggests that both attempted to resist the Serb attack but were quickly overwhelmed.

I know the author of this book, and I know the subject, and I know many people mentioned in the book (including Søren Jessen-Petersen, who wrote the foreword). It’s an account of the war crimes trial of Ramush Haradinaj, briefly Prime Minister of Kosovo, written by a leading member of his defence team. There is a lot of well-crystallised historical information about the roots of the Kosovo conflict and Haradinaj’s role in it, and also a lot of excoriating analysis of the weakness of the prosecution case (Haradinaj was in the end acquitted, twice). I did not spot any errors in the former, and so am more inclined to trust the author on the latter.

The core argument of the book is a strong case that the prosecution of Haradinaj and others was launched as a political sop to the government of Serbia in order to encourage Belgrade to cooperate with the international tribunal. The facts are that the final batch of indictments by ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) included seven high-ranking non-Serbs, every one of whom was ultimately acquitted; but Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić, the two highest-ranking Bosnian Serb fugitives, were handed over by Serbia shortly after the indictments were issued. One may draw one’s own conclusions. You can get the book here.

This was the non-fiction book that had lingered longest unread on my shelves (sorry Michael). Next on that pile is Political Animals, by Bev Laing.

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