Kosovo PM resigns after being summoned to Hague war crimes court

Clay Curtis
July 20, 2019

"I purchased a call by the actual court as a suspect and changed into provided to cross as the pinnacle minister or as a frequent citizen of Kosovo", he told reporters on Friday.

"I chose the latter", he added.

Before going into politics, Haradinaj was one of the top commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a guerrilla formation that fought Serbian forces during the 1998/1999 conflict.

"Responsibility now goes to the president to originate consultations to situation the date of the [general] election", he added. "I will defend myself as a fighter of my country".

Mr Haradinaj said he would be questioned next week.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci now has to call new elections within 45 days, after which the elections must be held within another 45 days.

Previously, Haradinaj was charged with war crimes at the now-defunct International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

The resignation comes amid growing tensions with Serbia as the EU-mediated dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade has been in stalemate for months.

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His current term as prime minister began in September 2017.

Kosovo, with a 90 percent ethnic Albanian majority, declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has been recognized by over 110 states, but not by five European Union member states, Serbia or Russian Federation. Serbia rejects it and considers Kosovo its own province.

Kosovo media believe that first indictments are likely to be issued this year.

A 2011 report by the Council of Europe linked Thaci and some other leading Kosovo figures to gruesome wartime crimes against Serbs, including trade in organs harvested from prisoners of war.

During the Balkan wars, a paramilitary group the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) formed.

A bloody Serb crackdown against Kosovo Albanian separatists and civilians led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to intervene by bombing Serbia in spring 1999.

More than 10,000 of the dead were ethnic Albanians, nearly 2,300 were Serbs and Montenegrins and the remainder included a few hundred Romas.

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