Thursday, February 24, 2005

UNMIK chief denies Hague indictment handed to Kosovo premier

UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] chief Soeren Jessen-Petersen has said that Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has not been handed a Hague tribunal [International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY] indictment because the handing of indictments is his duty as the UN administrator in Kosovo.

"The handing of indictments is my responsibility, and an indictment has not been handed to Prime Minister Haradinaj, unless I did it in my sleep," Jessen-Petersen said in a telephone statement for the Belgrade media from New York, where he participated in the UN Security Council session on Kosovo.

He said that Haradinaj had not come to the session because of his many obligations this week. He said that the Kosovo prime minister had to stay in Pristina to meet Italian Foreign Minister Fini, among his other duties.

Jessen-Petersen also recalled that, after the November session of the UN Security Council, he had announced that he wanted to come next time to New York with the prime minister, but that Haradinaj also had to take part in the session of the Kosovo Economic-Fiscal Council, and had many other duties.

"He has set his priorities very responsibly and I respect him for that," the Kosovo administrator said, adding that Haradinaj could not come to New York because "of responsibilities no one else could take on for him."

Jessen-Petersen said that he was "completely taken aback" by rumours that Haradinaj had already received an indictment, and reiterated that this was definitely not true.

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