Kosovo former PM arrested in France on Serbian warrant

Ramush Haradinaj speaks during an interview with Reuters at the AAK headquarters in Pristina
Ramush Haradinaj speaks during an interview with Reuters at the AAK headquarters in Pristina
Author

06 January, 2017

Former Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, was arrested in France on Wednesday (Jan. 04) in response to an global arrest warrant for war crimes filed by Serbia. Serbia, however, still considers Kosovo a province, but does recognize the elected government's right to administer the territory.

Albanian language media reported first that Haradinaj had been detained based on an global warrant issued by Serbia, the N1 broadcaster reported. It has also demanded his release.

The 48-year-old former leader of the KLA ("Kosovo Liberation Army") and former Kosovo prime minister traveled with a diplomatic passport when he was stopped at the airport in the eastern French town of Basel-Mulhous.

Serbian Office for War Crimes chief prosecutor Milan Petrovic told public broadcaster Radio Televizija Srbije (RTS) late on Wednesday that the Serbian judicial authorities can do nothing more in regard to Haradinaj's extradition because an extradition is only possible with the consent of the accused person.

Haradinaj was cleared of charges he tortured and killed Serbs and ethnic Albanians at the KLA-run detention center in Jablanica in 1998.

Haradinaj was cleared of war crimes charges in two lengthy trials by a United Nations war crimes tribunal.

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He has consistently denied the allegations, and stepped down as prime minister after just 100 days to face the charges.

He was detained in 2015 by Slovenian police executing a 2006 Interpol arrest warrant at the request of Serbia.

The former prime minister has already been tried twice before the war crimes tribunal in The Hague but was acquitted both times, as witnesses against him turned up dead or unwilling to talk.

Kosovo and France enjoy good diplomatic relations and Paris remains one of the biggest supporters of the youngest European state.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008.


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