Austrian MEP calls on EU to exert pressure on Serbia to withdraw outdated arrest warrants

An Austrian member of the European Parliament, Ulrike Lunacek, called on the European Union on Thursday to exert pressure on Serbia to withdraw outdated arrest warrants.

Her call came after former Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj was arrested by French border police on Wednesday on his arrival at Basel-Mulhouse on a flight from Pristina. He was arrested on a warrant issued by Serbia in 2004.

I urge the High Representative for Foreign and Security Affairs, Federica Mogherini, as well as the governments of all 28 EU member states, especially those 23 that have recognised Kosovo, to say clearly that Serbia should withdraw outdated arrest warrants, Lunacek, who also serves as the European Parliament's Rapporteur on Kosovo, said in a statement.

Haradinaj served as a commander in the Kosovo Liberation Army during the 1998-99 Kosovo war and was accused of war crimes against Serbian civilians in the Decani district in 1998, but was acquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Lunacek said it was unacceptable that Serbia should still keep an international arrest warrant dating from 2004 and was surprised that France had acted on it.

It is difficult to understand why France is acting on this arrest warrant, being a country that recognised Kosovo's independence a day after it was declared and given that it otherwise has excellent relations with Kosovo, she said.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday that Serbia would request Haradinaj's extradition. "You bet we are going to request it," he said in response to questions at a press conference in Belgrade.

Last update: Thu, 05/01/2017 - 18:54

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