BELGRADE, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — The Serbian government on Friday asked France to extradite former Kosovo paramilitary commander and politician Ramush Haradinaj to face war crime charges.
Marko Djuric, director of the Serbian government’s office for Kosovo and Metohija, told reporters that Serbia appealed all countries to adhere to international police body Interpol’s warrant and extradite Haradinaj.
Haradinaj was arrested in France last week at the request of Serbia for war crimes, mostly conducted in June 1999, during and after the NATO aggression on Yugoslavia.
He had been kept in extradition custody until Jan. 12, when a French court decided to release him on bail.
Haradinaj was former commander of the so called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which was perceived by Serbia as a terrorist paramilitary organization struggling for Kosovo’s independence.
Djuric told a press conference that Serbia will continue the prosecution of all accused and convict of war crimes, disregarding their nationality.
Serbia didn’t “allow unpunished killings of innocent civilians of all nationalities, such as those perpetrated by Haradinaj and his criminal gang,” Djuric said, reminding that among his victims was a two-week old infant.
Serbian Justice Minister Nela Kuburovic added that the investigation on Haradinaj includes 30 witnesses and other material evidence.
“We hope that French authorities will act professionally and respect European convention on extradition that they signed themselves,” said Kuburovic.
Kuburovic warned that if France refuses to extradite Haradinaj, Serbia will act in the same way towards any future France’s requests for extradition.
She explained that Haradinaj is suspected for crimes against Serbs, Roma and Albanians living in Kosovo, who refused to cooperate with the KLA.
Haradinaj was acquitted of all charges for criminal acts conducted from March to September 1998 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in Hague, Netherlands (in 2008 trial and 2012 retrial).
But crimes for which Serbian authorities charge him were perpetrated mostly in June 1999, Kuburovic explained.
She said that Serbia has sent to French authorities witness statements, DNA analysis, and death certificates of victims as well as final verdicts that were made before the Higher Court in Belgrade.