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Kosovo

Yearbook 2005

Kosovo. According to countryaah, Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj resigned in March when the UN Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia prosecuted him for suspected abuses during the Kosovo 1998-99 conflict. Haradinaj stated that he intended to cooperate with the court in The Hague and went there to declare himself innocent of the charges. He urged his supporters to refrain from violent protests, and it remained calm in Kosovo Former student activist Bajram Kosumi was appointed new Prime Minister.

2005 Kosovo

Haradinaj was detained in The Hague but released in June and was able to travel home awaiting trial. He and two others were indicted on a wide range of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws of war. They must have been guilty of persecution, murder and rape as well as displacement of ethnic Serbs. During the conflict, Haradinaj was an officer in the UCK guerrilla, who fought for independence for the Albanian-dominated province.

In November, the UN General Court issued judgments against three other former UCK members who have been detained since 2003. One of them received 13 years in prison for crimes against humanity, while the other two were acquitted. The trial was the first of the UN tribunal with Kosovo Albanians being prosecuted.

Several warnings were heard during the year that the situation in Kosovo was unsustainable as the issue of the province's final status was still unsolved. In May, Søren Jessen-Petersen, head of the UN administration in K., reported that progress has been made in strengthening security and democratic institutions. It paved the way for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Security Council in October to state that talks could be launched on the future of K., formally a province in Serbia but in reality a UN protectorate. Finnish former President Martti Ahtisaari was appointed mediator with the difficult task of trying to find a viable route and prevent new unrest. That the task was difficult was clear when Kosovo's Albanian-dominated parliament, prior to the negotiations, adopted a resolution stating that anything but independence was excluded. Serbia's Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica rejected that claim, saying that K. would be offered far-reaching self-government, but no more. Koštunica, in a speech to the Serbian Parliament, accused the Kosovo Albanians of "ethnic cleansing" of the province's about 100,000 Serbs. Of the province's 2 million residents, 90% are ethnic Albanians.

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