Kosovo: Haradinaj should not run in elections say Hague prosecutors <http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Politics/?id=1.0.1274918733>
The Hague, 5 Sept. (AKI) Prosecutors at the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) oppose former Kosovo prime minister Ramus Haradinajs participation in November 17 parliamentary elections, prosecution spokesperson Olga Kavran said on Wednesday. Haradinaj resigned as prime minister in 2005, after he was indicted by the ICTY for crimes against Serb civilians during the ethnic Albanian rebellion in Kosovo in 1999. Hundreds of thousands of refugees fled to Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro. Thousands of people died in the conflict. He subsequently handed himself to the Hague court for trial. But his Alliance for the Future of Kosovo said that he would head the party list in parliamentary elections slated for 17 November. Kavran said at a regular press briefing that an atmosphere of fear and intimidation of potential witnesses against Haradinaj was present in Kosovo and that his participation in the elections would only worsen the situation. She said the ICTY had already issued 14 subpoenas for witnesses to appear before the court, but at least ten witnesses had complained of threats received by them or their families. Haradinajs candidacy will not contribute for witnesses to feel safe and to be ready to testify, Kavran said. Aleksandar Ivanko, a spokesman for the United Nations administration in Kosovo (Unmik) said, however, that there were no obstacles to Haradinaj taking part in the polls, because he surrendered himself to the tribunal voluntarily. Haradinaj was a regional commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in western Kosovo during the 1998/99 rebellion against Serbian rule and is held responsible for death of scores of Serb civilians in the area. Kosovo, whose majority ethnic Albanians demand independence, has been under UN control since 1999. But Belgrade opposes independence and a second round of UN sponsored talks is currently underway in search of a compromise solution. Despite the ICTY indictment, international officials in Pristina have displayed a considerable degree of tolerance towards Haradinaj, even seeing him off before he left for the Hague. Unmik chief Soren Jessen-Petersen has said that Haradinaj was his dear personal friend.