Washington, D.C. - Today, Rep. Eliot Engel, the co-Chair of the Albanian Issues Caucus, released the following statement after a U.N. tribunal indicted Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj for war crimes against Serbs, a move that has prompted his resignation:
"Let us remember that an indictment is not proof of guilt; it is simply a charge. We should not rush to judgment. If crimes have been committed they will be proven. If not, Ramush Haradinaj will be vindicated. At this point in the process, Mr. Haradinaj is innocent until proven guilty. He, like many Kosovars, fought a war to halt Milosevic's ethnic cleansing and defend his homeland. He deserves every chance within the law to demonstrate his innocence.
"I commend Ramush Haradinaj for the way he has handled himself in the wake of the indictment. He will turn himself in and is placing his trust in the Tribunal in the interest of justice.
"I urge all Kosovars to follow the lead of Mr. Haradinaj and to remain calm. I believe that as the people of Kosova handle themselves with dignity during these difficult times it will only help in their quest for independence - their most important goal.
"Today's events must not be permitted to halt or delay the political process to determine the future status of Kosova. The only way the question of Kosova will ever be fairly decided will be to permit the Kosovars to determine their own future. If they are allowed to exercise this basic right, I cannot imagine any other final status than an independent and sovereign Kosova."
Rep. Engel is a senior member of the House Subcommittee on Europe.