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Outgoing Kosovo PM Haradinaj Silent At War Crimes Court Questioning

Outgoing Kosovar Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj speaks to reporters outside a special court in The Hague on July 24.

Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo's outgoing prime minister, has appeared before a special court in The Hague investigating alleged war crimes by separatist fighters from the Kosovo Liberation Army two decades ago.

After the hearing in the Kosovo Specialist Chambers on July 24, Haradinaj said he had used his right to remain silent during the procedure.

"Today I responded to the summons as a suspect in order to fulfill a legal obligation...I received legal advice not to answer questions at all," Haradinaj told journalists.

"Thus, I completed the obligation to the court and I do not have any other obligations," he said, adding that he did not expect to be indicted.

The court, which is part of the Kosovo judicial system despite being based in the Netherlands, declined to comment on the session.

Haradinaj resigned as prime minister on July 19 ahead of his questioning by the court. He has said he made the decision to resign "to preserve the honor of the state and that of the prime minister's office."

Haradinaj: I Resigned To Protect Kosovo's Sovereignty
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It was the second time Haradinaj has stepped down as a result of accusations from The Hague.

Haradinaj's first resignation from the post of prime minister came in 2005 after he was indicted by the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with his wartime role as a top commander in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

Haradinaj has twice been acquitted of war-related charges, in 2008 and again in 2012.

A bloody Serb crackdown against Albanian separatists and civilians in the then-Serbian province of Kosovo prompted NATO to intervene by bombing Serbia in the spring of 1999.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008 and it is recognized as a nation by more than 110 countries, including the United States, but not by Serbia and its traditional ally Russia.

With additional reporting by AP and AFP