French court rules against the extradition of former Kosovar PM Haradinaj

VALDRIN XHEMAJ

Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci (R) welcomes the former ethnic Albanian rebel commander and Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj (L) upon his arrival at the airport in Pristina, Kosovo, 29 November 2012. The UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) cleared Haradinaj of war crime charges on 29 November. Haradinaj and two co-defendants were found not guilty on six counts of torture and murder of prisoners in the Jablanica guerrilla camp during the 1998-99 Kosovo War. After NATO ended the conflict by ousting Belgrade's forces from the mostly Albanian former province, Haradinaj founded the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo party and became prime minister after elections in late 2004.

French court rules against the extradition of former Kosovar PM Haradinaj


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A French court on Thursday refused the extradition of the former Kosovar prime minister and KLA paramilitary commander Ramush Haradinaj.

The decision cannot be appealed and the former KLA commander can now return to Kosovo. Haradinaj, 48, is the leader of the opposition in Kosovo. He is wanted by Serbia for alleged war crimes in the 1999 conflict.

According to Serbian authorities, the former KLA commander oversaw a campaign of torture and killings of civilians. However, he has been tried by a UN Tribunal in The Hague and acquitted on two separate trials in 2004 and 2012. Belgrade issued the warrant claiming there was both new evidence and charges.

Haradinaj was detained on a Serbian arrest warrant in January and was later released on bail. The decision by the Colmar court was hailed by Kosovo’s Foreign Minister, Enver Hoxhaj.

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