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Serbia Formally Seeks Extradition From France Of Kosovo’s Ex-Prime Minister


France's detention of Kosovo's former prime minister prompted protests in Pristina.

Serbia on January 10 formally requested the extradition of a former Kosovar prime minister from France to face war-crimes charges after his arrest there last week.

Ramush Haradinaj, a former guerrilla fighter in Kosovo's 1998-99 war for independence from Serbia, was arrested on January 4 under an international warrant issued by Serbian courts in 2004.

Haradinaj was briefly prime minister of Kosovo in 2004-05 and now heads an opposition party.

A French court has ruled that Haradinaj should stay in custody until it decides whether to turn him over to Serbia.

Haradinaj has been tried twice and acquitted of war crimes at the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. But the Serbs accuse him of war crimes against civilians in the late 1990s, including kidnappings and torture, when he led ethnic Albanian insurgents fighting Serbian forces for Kosovo independence.

The arrest has increased tensions between Belgrade and Pristina. Kosovo, which is mainly ethnically Albanian, declared independence in 2008, which Serbia has not recognized but 110 other countries have.

Kosovar lawmakers called on the European Union to intervene to secure Haradinaj's release.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP
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