Published: Fri, April 28, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

French court refuses to extradite Kosovo ex-prime minister

French court refuses to extradite Kosovo ex-prime minister

At the time, Serbia requested Haradinaj's extradition relating to accusations that he committed war crimes in 1999 as a leader in Kosovo's armed conflict with Serbia.

Kosovo, a predominantly ethnic Albanian province, unilaterally declared independence a decade after the conflict, a move since recognised by more than 100 countries but not by Belgrade or its big brother ally Russian Federation. He declined to elaborate.

Detained on a Serbian arrest warrant as he flew into France in January, he was released on condition that he did not leave the country.

"Of course this judicial decision allows me to pursue my duties, but I still lost four months." the charges Serbia alleges that Haradinaj is guilty of war crimes dating back to his role as a guerilla commander during the 1998-99 Kosovo war.

Haradinaj's lawyer, Rachel Lindon, said the court ruled against the extradition because he would not have had a fair and balanced trial if sent to Serbia.

"France has now definitely aligned itself with those who discriminate against victims and treat criminals differently depending on their nationality", Drecun said, as reported by Balkan Insight.

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But Belgrade issued an worldwide arrest warrant over separate charges of violence against Serbian civilians in Kosovo in June 1999.

Kosovo, a former Serbian province, declared independence in 2008.

After the previous hearing last month, Haradinaj had described himself as a "political hostage".

Thousands of ethnic Albanians protested in Pristina and other cities in the region against Haradinaj's arrest. He has already been tried and acquitted, twice, of war crimes by the United National International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Mr Haradinaj has consistently denied the allegations, and stepped down as prime minister after just 100 days to face the charges.

But the EU-brokered deal between Belgrade and Pristina to improve and regulate ties between the two states has only been moderately successful.

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