News 11 Apr 17

UN Urges Kosovo to Probe ‘Ethnic Cleansing Threat’

After MP Daut Haradinaj threatened war and said Serbs could be removed from Kosovo if his ex-PM brother is extradited to Belgrade, the UN’s Kosovo mission urged the authorities to launch an investigation.

Daut Haradinaj. Photo: Facebook.

“This weekend’s statement by a senior Kosovo parliamentarian, using hate speech to threaten ethnic cleansing, is unacceptable, and a cause for serious concern,” Zahir Tanin, the special representative of the UN secretary-general and the head of the UN’s Kosovo mission UNMIK, said in a statement on Monday.

“I call on all responsible leaders to condemn this statement, and on the judicial authorities to undertake the necessary investigation of this incident and take appropriate action in accordance with Kosovo law,” Tanin urged.

His statement came after Daut Haradinaj, an MP and leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo party, said that there would be war if his brother Ramush Haradinaj, a former Kosovo prime minister, is extradited from France to Serbia to face trial on war crimes charges.

“This can lead us to war. I don’t know about others, but I know for myself: if they make a mistake and do that, they should be ready for serious issues,” Daut Haradinaj said on Friday in an interview with Kosovo TV station Dukajini.

“If they want Kosovo ethnically cleansed of Serbs, then let them continue with this farce,” he added.

His statement has also been condemned by the EU office in Kosovo who said that it incited hatred towards minority communities and hampered reconciliation.

The US embassy in Pristina also criticised his comments.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said on Monday that the statement by Haradinaj represents a return to the “dark past”.

“For Kosovo institutions and people, these threats towards other non-Albanian groups encourage hate, anger and revenge,” Thaci wrote on Facebook.

Daut Haradinaj fought along his brother Ramush Haradinaj during Kosovo war and was one of the key figures in the Kosovo Liberation Army.

The appeals court in Colmar in France last week postponed its decision for a third time on Serbia’s extradition request for Ramush Haradinaj, announcing a new hearing for April 27.

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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