Friday, December 03, 2004

Kosovo PM: Doesn't Think UN Court Will Move Against Him

PRISTINA (AP)--Kosovo's newly elected prime minister said Friday he doesn't believe that a U.N. war crimes court will move against him.

Sitting in his room, with an empty swimming pool and fitness equipment nearby, Ramush Haradinaj, a former senior rebel commander, brushed off fears that he might be indicted for war crimes as "speculation."

"I have fulfilled my citizen's duty toward justice, and I will do the same in the future," he told The Associated Press in an interview shortly before the vote.

Last month, Haradinaj was questioned by two U.N. investigators about his role as the commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army, a guerrilla group that battled the Serb forces in the 1998-99 war.

However, Haradinaj - who is a law student at Pristina University - stopped short of explicitly saying whether he will go to the tribunal in The Hague if summoned there.

Haradinaj said he was "asked by the (investigators) for explanations," about his role during the war. "I gave those and I continue to consider this as a period of speculation."

"I consider that there is no case against me," he said firmly.

The 36 year-old former rebel leader was voted Kosovo's prime minister Friday by lawmakers. The vote was overshadowed by concerns that a possible indictment against him might plunge the province into crisis.

Serbs consider him the most notorious rebel leader in Kosovo and have repeatedly insisted that he be charged.

"Kosovo is entering the most important year in its history, a year that will be decisive for it," Haradinaj said. "I am making all the necessary preparations to be successful. It's a great challenge for all of us, for me too."

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