BELGRADE (AP)--Serbia protested Tuesday against Interpol's recent decision to remove Kosovo's former rebel leader and newly elected prime minister, Agim Ceku, from its list of wanted persons.
Serbia's Justice Minister denounced as "shameful" Interpol's recent acknowledgment Ceku is no longer on its list of internationally wanted persons because of his new status.
The arrest warrant had been initiated by Serbia, which accuses Ceku of atrocities and war crimes, including genocide, against Serbs and other non-Albanians during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war.
Kosovo has been a U.N.-run protectorate since 1999 when Serbia was forced by North Atlantic Treaty Organization bombing to halt its crackdown against the ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo and hand over the province to the U.N. and the military alliance. A final status for the province is now being negotiated through U.N.-sponsored talks.
Formerly a top commander of the ethnic Albanian guerrillas, Ceku became Kosovo's prime minister earlier this month. The province's U.N. administrators then urged Interpol and a number of Western governments to ignore the arrest warrant for him, as well as for another former rebel leader, Hashim Thaci, citing the need for them to move freely.
Both were detained in the past when they traveled abroad, but were released after U.N. officials intervened. They are now part of the talks on Kosovo's future.
Serbian authorities claim Ceku is responsible for wartime killings of 669 Serbs and 18 other non-Albanians in Kosovo, for more than 500 abductions and about as many armed attacks.