France court refuses to extradite former Kosovo prime minister

France court refuses to extradite former Kosovo prime minister

A French court on Thursday refused [BIRN report] an extradition request for former Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj [BBC profile], who is facing war crime charges in Serbia. The court released [BBC report] Haradinaj shortly thereafter giving the parties five days to appeal. The Serbian government has stated the decision is unlawful and has recalled its ambassador in protest. Representatives of the former prime minister state that extradition would have led to an unfair and unbalanced trial. The request came after French police arrested Haradinaj [JURIST report] in January on a Serbian arrest warrant, leading to the Serbian extradition request and Kosovo [BBC country profile] requesting the intervention of the European Union [official website].

Haradinaj was a senior commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the ethnic Albanian guerrilla force, that opposed Slobodan Milosevic during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war [BBC backgrounder]. 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.