French court refuses to extradite Kosovo ex-prime minister

by Garry Watts April 30, 2017, 1:22
French court refuses to extradite Kosovo ex-prime minister

The Chinese side carefully follows the events surrounding the arrest of Haradinaj in France.

Former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj will not be extradited to Serbia, a French court ruled Thursday.

Former Kosovo PM and Kosovo Liberation Army ex-commander Ramush Haradinaj gave an emotional address to thousands of supporters who gathered in Pristina's Zahir Pajaziti Square in Pristina on Thursday evening to greet him after he arrived direct from the airport following his release. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu) FILE - In this March 2, 2017 file photo, Ramush Haradinaj, a former Kosovo prime minister, appears in court in Colmar, eastern France.

Serbia requested Haradinaj be transferred to the country after French authorities arrested him in January on a Serbian warrant.

The 1998-1999 war pitted ethnic Albanian guerrillas seeking independence for the southern Serbian province of Kosovo against Serbia's forces, who withdrew from the territory after an 11-week North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bombing campaign.

The move sparked outrage in Belgrade, where Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic called the April 27 ruling "a great victory for criminals".

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Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci said the court decision was "good news for the Haradinaj family and Kosovo".

"He lost 3 1/2 months" of his life waiting for this decision, Lindon told the media, "but happily it's over".

A Serbian court has charged Haradinaj with killings, torture and abductions of Serbs, ethnic Albanians and minority Roma people during and after the 1998-1999 war that led to Kosovo's independence from Serbia, which Belgrade does not accept.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also accused France of employing "double standards, which shows a policy of connivance" in the face of what Moscow claims are aspirations in Pristina for Kosovo to become part of a "Greater Albania project".

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, which Belgrade has not recognized. He is wanted by Serbia for alleged war crimes in the 1999 conflict. She said it is unclear whether he will stay in France. He has already been tried and acquitted, twice, of war crimes by the United National International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

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