Tahiri: No dialog with Belgrade until Haradinaj is released

Kosovo Minister for Dialog Edita Tahiri stated on Wednesday that the talks on normalization between Belgrade and Pristina cannot be continued until France releases Ramush Haradinaj, the leader of Alliance for the Future of Kosovo.

Beta AP: Ramush Haradinaj
Photo: Beta AP / Ramush Haradinaj

“Dialog with Belgrade can be continued only after Haradinaj’s release and his return to Kosovo. After that, Kosovo Assembly will abolish its Resolution on termination of negotiations,” said Tahiri to Kosovo MPs. In March, the Members of Kosovo Parliament adopted the Resolution on abortion of normalization talks with Belgrade until Haradinaj returns to Kosovo.

Haradinaj was arrested by the French police on 4th January in Basel on the basis of Interpol notice issued on the request of Serbia. Serbia accuses Haradinaj, who was one of the leaders of Kosovo Liberation Army (OVK), for war crimes against civilians.

The Appellation Court in Calmar, France, will make a decision on Haradinaj’s extradition on 27th April.

Haradinaj’s arrest has raised even more tensions between Pristina and Belgrade. His brother Daut Haradinaj, an MP in Kosovo Assembly, said on Monday that if Ramush is not released, there will be ethnic cleansing of Serbs in Kosovo. However, on Tuesday, Daut Haradinaj said that his statement was “taken out of the context.”

“If they [Serbia] want to play with fire – good luck. I said it once and I will say it again, be warned and do not play with our people,” said Daut Haradinaj denying the previous statement on ethnic cleansing.

His statement was condemned by both President of Kosovo Hashim Taci and Serbian Prime Minister and President-elect Aleksandar Vucic.

Serbian Justice Ministry claimed that they delivered all necessary documentation for extradition of Haradinaj to the Court in Calmar. Justice Minister Kuburovic said that she believes Serbia’s request for extradition will not be denied, adding that the delivered documentation contains thousands of pages.

Haradinaj was the Prime Minister of Kosovo in 2004, but he resigned after 100 days in office because the Hague Tribunal raised charges for war crimes against him. He voluntarily reported to the Court in 2005. The Hague Tribunal acquitted Haradinaj of all charges in 2008. In 2010, the Hague Tribunal revoked Haradinaj’s acquittal verdict over intimidation of witnesses, but he was released again in 2012.

In The Hague Tribunal process against Ramush Haradinaj, over thirty witnesses and members of their families were murdered or died.

In January, right after Haradinaj’s arrest, the Director of Serbian Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric said the new evidence against Haradinaj had been gathered. Djuric publicly described the testimonies of new witnesses, and even stated the name of a person who was, according to his words, raped by Haradinaj.

Serbian Ministry of Justice stated that Djuric did not give out the names of protected witnesses and that the raped woman’s name was not classified information.

Milivoje Pantovic

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