BELGRADE – Serbia will demand the extradition of Ramush Haradinaj, a former Kosovo guerrilla commander and prime minister, from France, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said Thursday.
Haradinaj, now the leader of the opposition Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) was detained on Wednesday by police at Basel Mulhouse Freiburg airport in eastern France due to a Serbian arrest warrant that alleges that he committed war crimes during his time as a guerrilla commander.
“Of course, we will demand the extradition,” Vucic said, as quoted by Tanjug news agency. The prime minister added that in case of Haradinaj’s release Belgrade would have to remind the European Union about the key role of state and justice outlined in the policy on joining the bloc.
Haradinaj served as a rebel commander in the Kosovo Liberation Army in the 1998-1999 Kosovo conflict and Serbia alleges he oversaw a brutal campaign against ethnic Serbs. He has consistently denied the allegations.
Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as an independent state, which was unilaterally proclaimed in 2008; it continues to consider Kosovo part of Serbia. Kosovo is recognized by 23 out of the 28 EU member states. Serbia applied for EU membership in 2009, later becoming an official candidate.
The Balkan country has so far opened only four of the 35 chapters needed for accession to the European Union.