Former Kosovo rebel spokesman arrested, sent to Hague tribunal

File photo. Jakup Krasniqi, army spokesman of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) gestures during a statement at his headquarter in Likovac, western Kosovo, 2 February 1999. [Alban Bujari/EPA/EFE]

A former ethnic Albanian rebel spokesman and Kosovo politician has been arrested in Pristina and transferred to a court in The Hague set up to probe war crimes during the 1990s Kosovo conflict.

“Jakup Krasniqi was arrested today and transferred to the detention facilities of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) in The Hague,” the tribunal said in a statement late Wednesday (4 November).

Krasniqi will face charges related to war crimes and crimes against humanity, the statement added.

The KSC did not give further detail or a date for an initial appearance.

Krasniqi’s arrest was carried out after heavily-armed European Union police raided his home on the outskirts of the capital and searched the premises for several hours.

Krasniqi, 69, is a Kosovar politician who now holds the post of chairman of the National Council of the Social Democratic Initiative, a junior party in the governing coalition.

He is former parliamentary speaker of the Assembly of Kosovo.

Krasniqi even served twice for a short period of time as the acting President of Kosovo in 2010 and 2011 following resignations of two presidents in succession.

During the 1998-9 conflict Krasniqi was the spokesman for the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

The KSC was set up in 2015 to probe alleged atrocities by the KLA, whose guerrillas fought for the independence of Kosovo from Serbia.

More than 13,000 people died in the Kosovo conflict, which ended when late Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic’s forces withdrew after an 11-week NATO bombing campaign.

The court has also indicted Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi in June for his alleged role in nearly 100 murders during the 1998-89 conflict while he led the KLA.

War crimes tribunal indicts Kosovo President Thaci

In today’s edition of the Capitals, find out more about Kosovo’s president being indicted before the Hague-based Kosovo court in the Hague, migrants abroad the quarantine ship docked in Sicily testing positive for COVID-19, and so much more.

He was questioned at the tribunal in July over the charges which he said “rewrite history”, but he has not formally been arrested.

In late September former KLA commander Salih Mustafa became the first person to appear before the court, facing charges including murder and torture.

International tensions over Kosovo remain to this day, with the US and most of the West recognising Kosovo, while Belgrade and its allies Russia and China do not.

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