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Europe

Kosovo PM Haradinaj quits after called to war crimes court as a suspect

media File photo of Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj in parliament in Pristina, Kosovo REUTERS/Laura Hasani

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, who had served as a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the 1998-99 war, said on Friday that he resigned after being called as a suspect before a war crimes court in The Hague.

"I received a call by the special court as a suspect and was offered to go as the prime minister or as an ordinary citizen of Kosovo. I chose the latter," Haradinaj told reporters.

The Kosovar government will need to take steps to set up a general election, he said.

"Responsibility now goes to the president to start consultations to set the date of the election,” said Haradinaj after meeting with government officials.

“I will offer myself to the people again to get their trust. I am not accused, but (will be) questioned" by the court, he added.

A war crimes court was set up in 2015 to investigate alleged atrocities committed by the KLA, specifically against the Serbs, Romas and Kosovo Albanian political opponents who were attacked both during the 198-99 war in Kosovo and afterwards.

Earlier this year Haradinaj, 51, reportedly said he would respond to the EU-backed court’s demands.

Investigations began in January in The Hague as Rrustem Mustafa-Remi and Sami Lushtako, both former KLA officials, were questioned.

Local Kosovar media indicate that the first indictments are likely to be issued before the end of the year.

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