As Haradinaj returns to The Hague, an entire nation has his back

By Harry Bajraktari

The Prime Minister of Kosova, Ramush Haradinaj, left today for The Hague, where he will be interviewed on Wednesday.
He has already been indicted twice for allegations stemming from a war that ended two decades ago and has been acquitted both times. Yet, here we are again. Now, it is the so-called Specialist Chamber that has asked to interview him.
Despite this persistence from international judges and bodies, Haradinaj hasn’t shied away from facing justice. Unlike leaders of Serbia and other places in the Balkans, Haradinaj never ran away, never tried to hide, and never launched a public campaign to vilify the international tribunals.
These are manifestations of a clean consciousness, of a strong character, and of a responsible leader who believes in the importance of justice.
For a third time, he agreed to suspend his political career – he has resigned twice now from the position of Prime Minister – placing country above himself and his family. “I don’t want to be tried as the country’s leader, because Kosova should not be on trial”, he said.
His behavior should serve as an example to all the leaders in the region. We have seen recently leaders, who should have stepped aside by now in the interest of democracy and the nation, but have opted to follow their personal and party interests.
In these trying times, Albanians need leaders like Ramush Haradinaj, who once again proved to be a statesman. He resigned at the top of his popularity.
His family has sacrificed immensely in the last 25 years. He has seen three brothers give their life for freedom and has led the people of his region through a liberation war that was just and heroic. They faced a regime of war criminal Slobodan Milosevic, which was superior in weaponry and numbers and who left behind a trail or mass graves, more than 20,000 women raped, and a sea of destruction. There were no “two sides” in the War of Kosova and yet no other liberation war has been put under the microscope more than this one. As Prime Minister Haradinaj is asked to face a tribunal for the third time, the feeling is that this is not about justice anymore. This is about politics and an interest in leveling the moral ground between the aggressor and the victim.
Instead of sending back to trial Haradinaj and other Kosovo freedom fighters who had no choice but to defend their homes, their families, and their lives, the international community should hold Serbia and its leaders accountable for the despicable crimes they committed in Kosova.
Today, Mr. Haradinaj left again for The Hague. An entire nation has his back and the whole world is watching. He fought for us in war, he is fighting for us again. The historic resistance of the oppressed people of Kosova will not be tarnished.


Harry Bajraktari is an Albanian-American community leader and businessman. He is the founder of Illyria newspaper.