France appeals court releases former Kosovo PM with orders to remain in France
France appeals court releases former Kosovo PM with orders to remain in France

A French court of appeals on Thursday ordered the release of Ramush Haradinaj, former prime minister of Kosovo, but the court also issued a condition that Haradinaj remain in France until an extradition review from Serbia is reviewed. The extradition request accuses Haradinaj of war crimes during his role as a guerrilla commander during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war [BBC backgrounder]. The issue has broken up talks between Serbia and Kosovo that were a precondition to EU membership. Government officials in Serbia are against even this conditional release, while Haradinaj’s Alliance for the Future of Kosovo believes the conditional release is not justice. Until the extradition request is reviewed, which could take weeks or months, Haradinaj will be required to stay and report to the police twice a week [Reuters report].

Haradinaj was arrested [JURIST report] last week, and Kosovo’s current president, Hashim Thaci [official website], condemned the arrest and called it a threat to stability in the region. Haradinaj was a senior commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the ethnic Albanian guerrilla force, that opposed Slobodan Milosevic during the Kosovo war. He was tried twice and acquitted of 37 charges of war crimes in both 2008 and 2012 [JURIST reports] by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website].