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 Haradinaj’s 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”.

“Haradinaj’s 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”.


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