PM Vucic: Serbian Ambassador in Paris to return for consultations after Haradinaj’s release

Serbian Prime Minister and President-elect Aleksandar Vucic said the Serbian Ambassador in Paris will be withdrawn after the French Court’s decision not to extradite Ramush Haradinaj to Serbia.

Srdjan Ilic: Serbian PM and president elect Aleksandar Vucic
Photo: Srdjan Ilic / Serbian PM and president elect Aleksandar Vucic

PM Vucic said on Thursday that Serbia is extremely dissatisfied with the decision of the French Court in Colmar not to extradite Kosovo ex-prime minister Ramush Haradinaj, whom Serbia accused of war crimes.

Serbia will not break diplomatic relationship with France since it could put stability at stake, said Vucic.

“I think we found the right measure to respond to the decision to release Haradinaj,” said Vucic at the press conference, adding that Serbia will deliver a protest note to the French government.

The Court in Calmar decided on Thursday that Ramush Haradinaj cannot be extradited to Serbia. 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), of war crimes against civilians.

He also said that the Court’s decision to release Haradinaj is shameful, scandalous, illegal, unjust, and above all political. PM Vucic also said that, in the afternoon, he will talk to the Russian foreign minister Sergei Ivanov.

In the next three days, Serbia will also address all member states of the United Nations.

During the conference, PM Vucic specifically addressed the part of the Court’s decision, which reads that “extradition could have severe consequences for Haradinaj,” and he said that “Serbia did not call the defendant for chocolate and candy, but for war crimes trial.”

He also stated that war crime is a criminal offense that does not expire, and Serbia will continue to act accordingly.
“Law and justice are not always easily attainable, but I am convinced that, with our strength, we will succeed in getting justice and protection for the victims who suffered in the most heinous ways,” said PM Vucic.

“We were certain Haradinaj would be extradited to Serbia in accordance with the law. Think about what message you are sending to the Balkans with this decision.”

Serbian Justice Ministry claims they delivered all the necessary documentation to the Court in Calmar for Haradinaj’s extradition. In the beginning of April, Justice Minister Kuburovic said that she believes Serbia’s request for extradition would not be denied, and that the delivered documentation contained 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.

Delegation of the Serbian Assembly left the Council of Europe parliamentary session on Thursday as a protest over Haradinaj’s release.

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’s 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.

Jelena Jankovic

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