Saturday

17th Aug 2019

Eulex seeks arrest of senior Kosovo minister

Eulex, the EU's police mission in Kosovo, has arrested eight individuals on suspicion of war crimes and indicted three others, including a senior aide to the PM.

Those arrested are wanted in connection with war crimes alleged to have taken place in the late nineties during the Kosovo Liberation Army's (KLA) fight for independence from Yugoslavia.

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  • Limaj in the Hague. He was cleared of charges in 2005 (Photo: ICTY)

A police commander in Prizren in southern Kosovo is also amongst those taken into custody.

Warrants for the arrest of three others, including the deputy leader of the governing Democratic Party have also been issued, according to agency media reports.

Those indicted are suspected of crimes committed against both Serbs and Albanians.

A top aide to Prime Minister Hashi Thacia and Kosovo's transport and communications minister, Fatmir Limaj, is among those sought by the law-enforcement mission.

Limaj, also under investigation by Eulex on separate corruption and money laundering suspicions, told local television that he would turn himself in.

The former KLA commander ordered the killing of two Serb police officers, according to allegations listed in an indictment document seen by the AP. The indictment also accuses Limaj of torturing a Serb prisoner of war. All three crimes allegedly took place in the village of Klecka.

Limaj has already been tried at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague. However, the former rebel was cleared of charges in 2005.

The latest Eulex actions come after the Council of Europe in December approved a report by a Swiss politician saying that Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and five other senior KLA figures ran a Serb organ-harvesting mafia in the 1990s.

The Council is concerned that witnesses who gave evidence to the report could be at risk from reprisals.

Thaci for his part has said he supports a full investigation into the report by Eulex, adding that the allegations are an attempt to de-legitimise the Kosovo statehood and to blacken the name of the KLA.

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