Former Kosovo PM refuses to answer court’s questions

Former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj arrives for a Kosovo tribunal, at the Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. Haradinaj will be questioned by a special court investigating alleged war crimes by members of the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army two decades ago. (AP Photo/Michael Corder)
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Kosovo’s former prime minister refused to answer questions put to him Wednesday by prosecutors at a court investigating alleged war crimes by separatist fighters from the Kosovo Liberation Army two decades ago.

Ramush Haradinaj said he had fulfilled his obligation to the court by attending the meeting and does not expect to be indicted.

“I came today as a suspect, in order to commit my legal obligation based on an invitation from the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers,” he said. “I followed my legal counsel’s advice not to respond to the questions.”

He said prosecutors asked him in general terms about his role in the KLA and other issues, “but nothing concrete.”

The court, which is part of the Kosovo judicial system, is declining comment on the questioning of Haradinaj as it is part of an ongoing investigation.

It was a brief return to The Hague for Haradinaj, who was twice acquitted of charges linked to Kosovo’s fight for independence by a United Nations war crimes tribunal in the Dutch city.

Haradinaj resigned as prime minister a week ago ahead of his questioning at the court, which is looking into crimes against ethnic Serbs allegedly committed during and after Kosovo’s 1998-99 war.

“I have not wanted to bring the head of the government, the state here,” he said of his decision to step down. “Today it is Ramush Haradinaj here.”

At the time of the war, Kosovo was a Serbian province and Haradinaj was a top commander of the separatist forces. Most KLA members were ethnic Albanians. A bloody Serb crackdown against Kosovo Albanian separatists and civilians led NATO to intervene by bombing Serbia in spring 1999.q