On April 6, Court of Colmar in France will decide if the leader of AAK, Ramush Haradinaj, who is accused of war crimes, will be extradited to Serbia.
In an exclusive interview for IBNA, professor of international affairs, Afrim Hoti explains the negative impact of this case in the talks for the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia and Serbia’s tendencies to discredit Kosovo.
Hoti also talks about Kosovo’s approach to this problem and the reaction of state leaders
IBNA: How do you consider Haradinaj’s arrest by French authorities based on an arrest warrant issued by Serbia?
This is a dirty game that Serbia is playing against Kosovo’s leadership. I discern two messages in this situation. Firstly, Serbia continues its political game by mining the process of dialogue and mining Kosovo’s authority. Secondly, Serbia wants to discredit Kosovo in front of the international community trying to present its political leadership as a leadership filled with incriminated people who are responsible for crimes against humanity. I think that the issue of arrests must be seriously handled by authorities in Kosovo. Kosovo must at least put pressure in order for the issue in question to become part of agenda of talks in order for these acts to come to an end. Serbia’s arguments that this is a matter for the judicial system, are ridiculous.
IBNA: What will be the impact of this case in the process of talks for the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia?
I am not a big fan of the word conditioning, but dialogue between is held based on mutual interests. In other words, Kosovo should see what’s in its best interest and then push these topics in the dialogue with Serbia. But what I have seen so far is that Kosovo has participated in every meeting with Serbia and has never imposed anything which serves the interest of the country. This is not the first time. We are used to such practices and it’s unforgivable that this issue has not been discussed. However, this case led to parliament of Kosovo to approve a resolution for the suspension of dialogue between the two countries, until the leader of AAK is released.
IBNA: Must Kosovo demand the EU to put pressure on Serbia?
This issue has been delayed. We must urgently address it and not negotiate it. We must demand for such acts to come to an end, otherwise, dialogue for the normalization of relations is absurd. We cannot hold talks for the normalization of relations and at the same time, undertake incriminating acts such as Mr. Haradinaj’s arrest and the arrest of other officials in the past. We have a lack of consistency between Serbia’s rhetoric and its actions in practice. This must be addressed and Brussels must be made aware in order for it to take measures against Serbia.
IBNA: Is there a possibility for these arrests to continue?
If we continue like this and deal with these cases when they happen, I think that these arrests will be repeated. But if we are a little bit more serious in addressing this issue, then this problem may be solved. We must urgently address this issue in Brussels and Kosovo’s officials must not be harassed.
IBNA: How do you see Kosovo’a approach to this problem and the reaction of state leaders?
We must not deal with the consequences, but with the remedy. This is why I’m not surprised about the reactions of state leaders. However, they must not act, in order for these arrests to come to an end. I would understand if this was the first arrest, but this is now turning into something quite common. Kosovo’s institutions have not handled this problem. These arrests have nothing to do with the court, but with political processes originating from Serbia, because the ruling of the International Tribunal for Ramush Haradinaj’s release is uncontestable. /balkaneu.com/