Kosovar Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has fired the country's deputy justice minister, an ethnic Serb, after she called NATO’s 1999 bombing campaign of then-Yugoslavia a "planned genocide."
Haradinaj dismissed Vesna Mikic on March 25, saying in a statement that there is “no place” in his government and other institutions in Kosovo for individuals to “denigrate our common euro-Atlantic values."
The Western military alliance committed “a deliberately planned genocide against a sovereign country that fought Albanian terrorism inside its own borders," Mikic wrote in a Facebook post on March 24, which marked the 20th anniversary of NATO’s 78-day air campaign.
Haradinaj called the comments "unacceptable,” saying they amount to “hate speech."
Rights groups say that several hundred people died in NATO’s bombing campaign that helped end Belgrade's crackdown against ethnic Albanians in its then-province Kosovo.
Belgrade was a major target of the military alliance’s warplanes, and Serbian leaders eventually acceded to Western demands and retreated from Kosovo.
Predominantly ethnic Albanian Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, a move that Belgrade has not recognized.
Kosovo’s ethnic Serb minority accounts for about 5 percent of the country's population of 1.8 million.