Serbia has officially requested France to extradite Kosovo’s former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj who was recently arrested at a French airport over alleged war crimes.
Haradinaj was arrested in France as he arrived at EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, located near the Swiss and German borders, on January 4 under an international arrest warrant issued by Serbia's judiciary in 2004.
“We sent the request together with the necessary documentation translated into French,” said an official from the Serbian Ministry of Justice, who declined to be named.
Belgrade accuses Haradinaj of committing war crimes against civilians in the late 1990s, when he was the leader of ethnic Albanian fighters combating Serbian forces for Kosovo's independence.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague has already tried Haradinaj twice and acquitted him of war crimes.
On Friday, Kosovo's Prime Minister Isa Mustafa slammed Serbia’s arrest warrant for Haradinaj as a "completely illegal and unjust" move which would bring about “tensions and conflicts” and harm the European integration process in the Balkans.
Haradinaj was Kosovo’s prime minister from 2004 to 2005 and he is currently the leader of an opposition political party.
The former premier is scheduled to appear before a French court on Thursday after requesting bail.
Nearly 13,000 people were killed in the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo. In 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared independence; however, Belgrade and Moscow refused to recognize its sovereignty.