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Former Kosovo Rebel Commander Cleared Of War Crimes

Fatmir Limaj greets supporters in Pristina after he was acquitted on September 17.
A former ethnic Albanian rebel commander turned politician has been acquitted of war crimes during the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict.

Fatmir Limaj, a former senior commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), is a close ally of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, himself also a former UCK commander.

Limaj stood accused of killing and torturing Serbian prisoners at a UCK-run detention camp.

The charges were based mainly on diaries and testimony of a former prison guard who became the main witness in the case before he was found dead in Germany.

An EU-led court in Pristina on September 17 ruled that although Serbian civilians had been killed at the camp, the prosecution had failed to establish a link with Limaj and his nine co-accused.

It was the third time Limaj has been acquitted of war crimes charges.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP