Slovenian police detain ex-Kosovo PM on Serbian warrant

Slovenian security officials detain former Kosovo PM Haradinaj in Ljubljana upon Serbia’s arrest warrant

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Former prime minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj has been detained by the Slovenian police upon a 2006 Serbian arrest warrant, the Slovenian security officials confirmed on Wednesday.

Since then Serbian authorities were seeking to arrest Haradinaj, a guerrilla commander during the 1998-99 Kosovo war which staged the fierce fightings between Serbs and Kosovar Albanians.

Haradinaj's party, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo has verified that their leader had been arrested at Ljubljana airport when he was returning to Kosovo from Berlin.

The Party called on the Slovenian government to immediately release their leader to return back to Pristina, the country’s capital.

The Slovene police said they had arrested a Kosovo citizen without mentioning a name, adding that Slovenian judicial authorities would judge him at a court in the Western city of Kranj.

But a government official in Serbia told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Haradinaj had been "stopped and held" in the Slovenian capital.  

Serbia considers Haradinaj a war criminal for his leading role in guerilla insurgency in the Kosovo war at a time when the NATO military operation had forced Serbs to withdraw from Kosovo.

The NATO military operation carried by aerial bombings over Belgrade in May 1999 aimed then to dissuade Serbs from seceding Kosovo where almost 90 percent of Kosovar Albanians either preferred to unite with Albania or unilaterally to become independent from Serbia in the wake of fall of former Yugoslavia.

Served as the PM of Kosovo during 2004-2005 under the ward of UN, Haradinaj was acquitted twice of war crimes at the Hague International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Haradinaj’s arrest just came after the arrest of Bosnian commander Naser Oric in Switzerland last week upon a warrant issued by Belgrade.

Oric was also accused of war crimes by Serbia on his roles in the 1992-95 war which led to the Srebrenica genocide at the end.  

As being one of the two autonomous regions in the former Yugoslavia together with Vojvodina, Kosovo declared its independence by the support of the West in 2008, a decision which was recognised by more than 100 countries so far in the United Nations.

But some countries, foremost Russia and Serbia, still perceive the newly independent Western Balkan country as part of Serbia and oppose its sovereignty rights.

Serbia has committed to cooperate with the Hague Criminal Court regarding the extradition of Yugoslav war criminals in return to open its membership bid in the European Union.

Belgrade seemed so far partially cooperative as the EU demands more efforts, but the issue frequently causes a nationalist blow in Serbian politics that retards the country’s membership process.

TRTWorld and agencies