news 06 Apr 17

France Delays Decision Again on Kosovo Ex-PM’s Extradition

A French court postponed for the third time its decision on whether to extradite former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj to Serbia, where he is wanted on war crimes charges.

Die Morina
Ramush Haradinaj. Photo: BIRN.

The appeals court in Colmar in France on Thursday postponed its decision for a third time on Serbia’s extradition request for ex-premier and former Kosovo Liberation Army fighter Ramush Haradinaj, announcing a new hearing for April 27.

Haradinaj again told the court that he was innocent and that Serbia’s charges were political.

“They committed murders, committed crimes in Kosovo and they accuse me,” said Haradinaj, Kosovo online newspaper Indeksonline reported.

Surrounded by Albanians who had gathered in front of the court in Colmar to show support, Haradinaj told media that it was expected that the decision would be postponed.

“We will wait a bit more until April 27. We are right and right will win,” he told media.

“It has been confirmed that I am clean, the truth was confirmed in 2012. I do not recognise Serbia’s jurisdiction,” he added.

Haradinaj has twice been acquitted by the Hague-based court for the former Yugoslavia of committing war crimes during the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict, most recently in 2012.

However Serbian officials insist that they have evidence that he was involved in other war crimes for which he has not yet been prosecuted.

They say he is suspected of the murders of civilians, including the killing of a two-week-old baby, torture, and the rape of a minor.

Haradinaj’s arrest at a French airport earlier this year after he flew in from Kosovo heightened tensions between Belgrade and Pristina.

It also sparked protests by Albanians both inside and outside Kosovo, calling for his release and condemning the arrest as a political act.

The French court released Haradinaj on bail on January 12, but ordered him to remain in the country under judicial supervision while the authorities consider whether to send him to Serbia to face trial.

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