News 21 Mar 16

Kosovo Ex-Guerrilla Slams Serbia After Macedonia Release

Former Kosovo Liberation Army guerrilla Gafurr Dugolli, released at the weekend after being detained in Macedonia over Serbian war crimes allegations, said Belgrade’s claims against him were lies.

Petrit Collaku
BIRN
Pristina
Gafurr Dugolli. Photo: Facebook.

Gafurr Dugolli told BIRN on Monday that he was a soldier, not a war criminal, and Serbia’s warrant for his arrest that led to his detention in Macedonia was based on falsehoods.

“The case is built based on defamations. I was a soldier who fought against soldiers,” Dugolli said.

“I have a clear conscience and I don’t have any reason to be concerned over the allegations,” he added.

Dugolli, who is now the director of the protocol office at Kosovo’s Ministry of Security Forces, was released on Saturday after being held for eight days in Skopje.

He was arrested on March 11 by Macedonian police at the border with Kosovo on an Interpol warrant requested by Serbia, which accuses him of committing war crimes during the fighting in Kosovo.

He said it was strange that the Macedonian authorities arrested him because Skopje has recognised Kosovo’s independence.

“Kosovo is facing this difficulty since it’s not member of Interpol, but a way should be found to avoid such arrests in the future,” Dugolli said.

“Kosovo should discuss this issue with countries in the region, and in particular with neighbouring countries that have recognised us,” he added.

According to Serbian police records, Dugolli is suspected of participating in the killing and abuse of Serbs in four prison camps in Klecka and Lapusnik/Llapushnik in 1998. Some of these crimes were prosecuted at the UN court in The Hague, although Dugolli himself was not indicted.

Among those who were indicted was Fatmir Limaj, a Kosovo opposition politician who was also on the Serbian wanted list alongside Dugolli.

Limaj was charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in 1998 at the KLA’s Lapusnik/Llapushnik detention camp.

The Hague prosecution alleged that Limaj should be held accountable for murders of more than 30 people at the camp.

However, he was acquitted of the charges.

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