Skip to comments.Kosovo PM Indicted for War Crimes; to Resign
Posted on 03/08/2005 6:43:08 AM PST by Jane_N
PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro (Reuters) - Kosovo's ethnic Albanian prime minister has been charged with war crimes by the United Nations tribunal and will resign his post Tuesday to answer accusations in The Hague, a senior government source said.
Rumours that Ramush Haradinaj was about to be charged by Hague chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte had circulated since before he became prime minister last December, raising fears of violence if NATO peacekeepers were forced to arrest him.
"Yes, the Prime Minister has been informed he has an indictment," a senior official in the Kosovo government told Reuters. "We have to face it.
"He has informed the President (Ibrahim Rugova). He will resign today...and will fly to the Hague tomorrow."
A year ago, mobs of ethnic Albanians attacked Serb enclaves in the United Nations-run province in two days of rioting which left 19 people dead and hundreds of homes in ashes.
Haradinaj had made clear he would not defy the tribunal.
But peacekeepers were taking no chances. Germany flew in extra soldiers to bolster its peacekeeping contingent in the NATO-led KFOR mission, and Britain deployed an extra 500 troops Monday after an urgent request from NATO, a KFOR spokesman said.
The force currently numbers nearly 20,000.
The United Nations mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, Monday raised its security threat assessment to "black" in western Kosovo, ordering non-essential staff to stay off the streets.
HARD MAN TURNED POLITICIAN
Details of the indictment against Haradinaj have not been made public. The U.N. court has investigated him over his role in the 1998-99 guerrilla war against Serb forces and the alleged murder of Kosovo Serb civilians and Albanian "collaborators."
Haradinaj, 36, spent much of the 1990s as an economic migrant in France, Switzerland, Sweden and Finland, drifting between jobs as a construction worker and nightclub bouncer.
He returned to Kosovo in early 1998 to command the western wing of the Kosovo Liberation Army, helping to mount what was to become a full-scale insurgency against Serb oppression and earning a reputation for ruthlessness.
Two of Haradinaj's brothers were killed fighting Serb security forces and a third was found guilty of war crimes against Serbs in 2002.
Haradinaj's political party, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) was the smaller of two parties to emerge from the ranks of the KLA.
He entered Kosovo's first interim government in February 2002 in a coalition with former guerrilla commander Hashim Thaci and veteran pacifist president Rugova, who leads Kosovo's largest political party.
In October 2004 elections, his AAK won nine seats in Kosovo's 120-seat parliament. Haradinaj later announced an surprise coalition deal with President Rugova, becoming prime minister in December 2004 and confining Thaci to the opposition.
I don't understand how this can be. If he's an Ethnic Albanian he's a good guy not a bad guy. It's the Serbs that are bad guys. This is what forced us to take sides against them in their civil war!
The folks at the Hague will have him home in short order.
That was my first thought as well.
Let's hear it for the Clinton Legacy!
/ sarcasm off / is missing :-)
Didn't really think it was necessary, but you never know :)
Forget the sarcasm tag? LOL
I think you're right.
Ha ha ha!!! Don't forget we put these people in power there. Bring back Slobo.
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
March 8, 2005
Indictment of Ramush Haradinaj
The United States welcomes Ramush Haradinajs decision to resign from his Prime Minister post, and his expressed plan to go voluntarily to The Hague. His actions demonstrate his deep concern for the future of Kosovo and its people.
The United States and the international community remain committed to supporting the development of Kosovos institutions in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and to the continued implementation of the "Standards for Kosovo." Ensuring that the rule of law extends to all citizens is an essential component of the Standards.
2005 is an important year for the aspirations of the people of Kosovo. In order to receive a positive assessment from the Comprehensive Review later this year and to begin a process to determine its future status, Kosovo must preserve peace and continue to work to implement the Standards. The people of Kosovo will enjoy the full support of the United States in those efforts. Violence will not be tolerated and will have negative consequences for the outcome of the review and for Kosovos future. We will continue to work with Kosovos provisional government on these issues.
The United States remains committed to supporting the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. We call upon all parties in Kosovo and throughout the Balkans to cooperate with the Tribunal, including apprehending and transferring all indictees to The Hague, as a prerequisite for full integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. We urge all individuals indicted by the Tribunal to act with dignity and in accordance with their obligations in reporting to the Tribunal without further delay.
In contrast, Haradinaj immediately resigns as Prime Minister and turns himself in to the Hague. As long as the Kosovar Albanians refrain from violence, when decisions about negotiations on final status are made this summer it'll be the Kosovar Albanians postured as reasonable negotiating partners and the Serbs starting from a position of apparent non-cooperation.
Then, as a backdrop to the process, add in 40% or more of the Serb population cheering on the ongoing Milosevic shenanigans at the ICTY and international negotiators will be even more skeptical of Serb reliability.
I agree with you for once.
I was evacuated yesterday, as a precautionary. I should be online today, and will keep you posted on situation on the ground. If you don't hear from me, am most probably evacuated again.
What a crazy day yesterday was.
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