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Minister: Kosovo PM removed from international arrest warrant

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj was removed from an international arrest warrant issued by Serbia | Youtube snapshot

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj was removed from an international arrest warrant issued by Serbia, lifting an obstacle to him travelling outside the country, the justice minister said on Friday.

Early this year Ramush Haradinaj, a former Kosovar guerilla leader who in September took over as prime minister, was arrested in France on an arrest warrant issued by Serbia. He was released after a French court rejected Belgrade’s extradition request. Belgrade refused to remove his name from the Interpol red notice, despite many attempts by Pristina.

“Today I was informed that Interpol has removed 18 people from Kosovo that are wanted by Serbia and this list includes also the prime minister,” Abelard Tahiri, Kosovo’s Justice Minister told Reuters.

“After today’s decision all these individuals are free to travel outside the country without any problem.”

Serbia has charged Haradinaj with murdering Serbs in the late 1990s war. The 1998-99 conflict ended after NATO bombed the now-defunct Yugoslavia, then comprising Serbia and Montenegro, for 78 days to force a withdrawal of its troops from Kosovo and end a counter-insurgency campaign against ethnic Albanians.

Haradinaj has already been tried and acquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). But he denied any wrongdoing. Along with Haradinaj, others are wanted by Serbia for allegedly committing war crimes.

The special court was formed following the accusations that emerged in a 2011 Council of Europe report with claims of assassinations, illegal detentions and organ trafficking during and after the Kosovo 1998-1999 war of independence. Kosovo declared independence in 2008 but Serbia refused to recognize its former breakaway province.