UN Tribunal Clears Kosovo's ex- PM of War Crimes

UN Tribunal Clears Kosovo's ex- PM of War Crimes

Tags: kosovo, verdict, serbia, haradinaj, serbian, liberation, capital, decision, international, justice

Haradinaj was a fighter in the Kosova Liberation Army.  He became Kosovo’s prime minister for a few months in 2005, but stepped down when charges were first brought against him. 

Emmerson said Haradinaj wants to restart his political career.

In Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, crowds watched the announcement of the verdict on a giant screen and celebrated with cheers and fireworks. 

"This is definitely a very historic decision," Besnik Tahiri, a senior official in the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, said. "International justice has confirmed that our liberation efforts were the right ones, we defended our homes, our people, and we are very happy that Mr. Haradinaj, Mr. Brahimaj and Mr. Balaj have been acquitted, and they are soon coming home."

But in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, the verdict was not welcome.  Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said the not-guilty verdict shows the U.N. tribunal is aimed only at trying Serbian people for the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s. 

He said the decision would “annul” what progress has been made in talks between Serbia and Kosovo, which are backed by the European Union.

Milivoje Mihajlovic, a Serbian government spokesperson, said the verdict is a heavy blow to international law and justice in the case of Kosovo and a serious obstacle in the process of reconciliation.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, an independence that has been recognized by about 90 nations, but which Serbia rejects. 

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