Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Hague questioning of Kosovo Albanian politician threatens stability - analysts

The country's analysts regard the Hague tribunal [International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia - ICTY] decision to question AAK [Alliance for the Future of Kosovo] chairman Ramush Haradinaj to be a politically damaging act and a threat to the general security and stability in the country.

Analyst Fehmi Baftiu told Kosovapress that Haradinaj's interview by Hague tribunal investigators on, as it has been said, nonspecific events that happened during 1998-99 and his role in them, was a standard procedure that is applied by this tribunal.

"The interview itself shows that Hague tribunal prosecutors doubt the Serbian false accusations against some of the UCK [Kosovo Liberation Army] leaders, without wishing to prejudice the details of this particular investigation that involves Haradinaj," he said.

We could assume that this is the same case, he added, that was presented to us when I worked as an assistant at the office of the UCK political representative, Adem Demaci, in Prishtina.

Baftiu reminds that, if the interview is about this case, then it can be said freely that Haradinaj was not involved in it and the chain of command did not involve him in it in any way.

According to him, if the interview is about that case, which was presented to the office of the UCK political representative at the time, the victims were battle-ready military formations and the act was carried out in self-defence and, therefore, was not in violation of the law of war or Hague tribunal regulation.

"The most important thing is that Haradinaj was not involved in that incident either directly or indirectly, therefore, his interview is a standard procedure that has been applied before by Hague tribunal investigators in hundreds of instances in Kosova [Kosovo]," Baftiu said.

Responding to a question as to whether Haradinaj's interview by Hague tribunal investigators could damage the political processes at this stage of building the Kosova institutions, Baftiu said that it was obvious that someone was trying to scare the Albanian factor in order to control the situation and dictate the future institution leaders in Kosova.

According to him, had Haradinaj's interview been announced only two days before the election, then, given the Balkan mentality that prevails in Kosova, the AAK would have won over 50 per cent of the votes because the only philosophy of the Albanian people is spite.

Analyst Halil Matoshi, too, thinks that the current situation in Kosova -with the process of building democratic institutions underway and the talks on the status of Kosova about to begin - the invitation to interview Haradinaj by Hague tribunal investigators is a politically damaging and dangerous action for the general security and stability of the country.

"When I say this, I have in mind that the tribunal's interference in this process seems to be primarily politically motivated and is aimed at weakening the political core of a country whose status has not been resolved yet," Matoshi said.

He said that attempts to remove certain players - Ramush Haradinaj in this particular case - from the political game were motivated by the desire of the Belgrade authorities, who do not want to see a stable Kosova, to interfere in the process.

In support of his claims, Matoshi said that Serbia had filed 108 charges against Haradinaj and certain other leaders of the liberation war in Kosova.

"Serbia's dossiers -those compiled by Milosevic's regime as well as those compiled by his followers, such as Defence Minister [former Serbian justice minister] Batic and Prime Minister Kostunica and his government - show that the Hague tribunal has been under continuous pressure from the Serbian government to intervene and affect the positive political trends in Kosova," Matoshi said.

AAK chairman Ramush Haradinaj, who was commander of the UCK Operative Zone of Dukagjin [Metohija], has been invited by Hague tribunal investigators in Prishtina to be questioned about nonspecific events during 1998-99 and his role in them.

Ramush Haradinaj has expressed his readiness to be interviewed as of next week.

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