UN court clears Kosovo’s ex-PM

A UN war crimes tribunal has cleared former Kosovan Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj of war crimes dating back to 1998, after a retrial in The Hague.

Mr Haradinaj and two of his lieutenants from the Kosovo Liberation Army were accused of atrocities against Serb, Albanian and Roma civilians in 1998.

But the UN court ruled that the prosecution had not proved the case.

He had been cleared of the crimes in 2008, but the verdict was quashed on the grounds of witness intimidation.

Mr Haradinaj and co-defendants Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj were all cleared of the charges.

The indictment alleged they had been involved in a joint criminal enterprise to establish KLA control in western Kosovo through detention camps.

Ethnic Serbs, and Albanians who were deemed to have collaborated with Serbs, were allegedly tortured and killed, with 39 bodies found.

But judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia found there was no evidence to say the three men participated in such a plan.

Mr Haradinaj is the most senior ethnic Albanian indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

He has many supporters among the Kosovo Albanian community, and they had said the retrial was based on flimsy evidence.

Mr Haradinaj served as prime minister for 100 days in late 2004 and 2005, before he stepped down to deal with his first trial.

Crowds in the capital Pristina celebrated his acquittal by letting off fireworks and cheering.

But his acquittal is likely to be met with anger in Serbia.

Many Serbs feel there has been little accountability for crimes committed against them during the wars of the 1990s.

Source: BBC

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