The Albanian American community demands the immediate release of Mr. Ramush Haradinaj, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosova
New York, NY: January 9, 2017 – On January 4, 2017, Mr. Ramush Haradinaj, the former Prime Minister of Kosova, and President of Alliance for the Future of Kosova, was detained by border police in France, based on an international warrant issued by Serbia.
Previously, Mr. Haradinaj was twice tried and subsequently acquitted by The UN International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) over the same accusations. Prime Minister, Mr. Haradinaj at the time, resigned his elected post and voluntarily surrendered to the ICTY where he was acquitted.
Serbia’s issuance of international arrest warrants against Kosova’s political leaders are a dangerous provocation and an unprecedented abuse of international institutions. Serbia’s baseless arrest warrants against the leaders of Kosova are aimed at humiliating the new democracy and impeding its aspiration to become a member of the international community such as the European Union (EU), The United Nations, UNESCO etc. These acts not only provoke dangerous tensions in a still fragile Balkans, but also impede the EU mandated dialogue to normalize relations between the two countries. In a recent press release, Congressman Eliot Engel, a Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Relations, said, “This action only foments tensions and increases the likelihood of future conflict”.
At the end of the last century, the Albanians of Kosova suffered from Serbia’s genocidal policies, where over a million people were displaced and forced out of their centuries old home. Many tens of thousands of Albanian women were systematically raped and tortured by the Serbs during their reign of terror. More than12,000 Albanians were slaughtered by the Serbs, most buried in mass graves and thousands remain missing to this day.
We point out that Serbia’s current leadership, including current President Nikolic, Prime Minister Vucic and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dacic held key government functions during Milosevic’s murderous regime, and was actively involved in the expulsion and mass murder of Albanians in 1998.
As Serbia is aspiring to become a member of the European Union, they should first issue warrants, apprehend and prosecute, to the fullest extent of the law, all the individuals responsible for criminal acts against people of Kosova including those who slaughtered innocent civilians and dumped their bodies in the Sava River or mass graves in military grounds around Belgrade.
The people of Kosova and the Albanian American Community are eternally grateful to France for its support to end the ethnic cleansing campaign by Serbia against Kosova; and for recognizing Kosova’s independence, but we stand by Mr. Haradinaj and therefore:
– We respectfully call upon French authorities to releases Mr. Ramush Haradinaj without delay.
On Behalf of the Albanian American Community
Albanian American Association Ana e Malit
Albanian American Business Network
Albanian American Civic League
Albanian American Community Association
Albanian American Council
Albanian American Community Center “Hasan Prishtina”, CT
Albanian American Cultural Center, Riverdale, NJ
Albanian American Open Hand Association
Albanian American Puka Community Association
Albanian American Society Foundation
Association Malesia e Madhe NY
Albanian Womens Organization Hope and Peace
Dibra Community Organization
Dom Simon Filipaj Foundation
Foundation Plave Guci
Kosova Association, MI
NYS Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj
Pan Albanian Federation of America Vatra
Shoqata Atdhetare Kraja
Sons of Illyria
Sons and Daughters of Albania in America