French court rules against the extradition of former Kosovar PM Haradinaj

Apr 30, 2017, 01:18
French court rules against the extradition of former Kosovar PM Haradinaj

Serbia called an immediate cabinet meeting to discuss the court's decision, which can not be appealed.

The court in France, which recognizes Kosovo's independence, immediately released Haradinaj, who was detained on Jan 4.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, which Belgrade has not recognized.

"He lost three and half months" of his life waiting for this decision, Lindon told The Associated Press, "but happily it's over". "But if someone attacks us, we unite to defend ourselves", he said expressing thanks to the support he has had since his detention in January in France.

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Kosovo's President Hashim Thaçi said the court decision was "good news for the Haradinaj family and Kosovo", Reuters reported.

Ramush Haradinaj, 48, is wanted by Serbia for alleged war crimes in 1999.

Haradinaj told Albanian journalists in Colmar that he would head to Kosovo later Thursday, and his supporters were expected to gather Thursday night in Pristina to welcome him home.

"Once again it is proven that the slanders of the Serb secret services against the Kosovo Liberation Army [the wartime guerrilla force] are unfounded and not taken into consideration by the democratic world", Thaci said.

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The Kosovar government said in a statement that the French judge's ruling confirmed that Serbian arrest warrants against Haradinaj and other KLA fighters "are political and have low intentions".

Haradinaj's arrest at a French airport after he flew in from Kosovo in January heightened tensions between Belgrade and Pristina. Serbia committed war crimes in Kosovo, and ethnic cleansing. His arrest had triggered outrage in Kosovo, where the government called the Serbian charges "illegal, unfair, and tendentious". However, he has been tried by a UN Tribunal in The Hague and acquitted on two separate trials in 2004 and 2012.

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

Normalized bilateral relations are considered a precondition for Serbia and Kosovo to gain European Union membership, which both countries seek.

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