Former Kosovo Leader Acquitted of War Crimes

Ex PM cleared of attacks on ethnic Serbs
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2008 4:30 AM CDT
Kosovars dance in the main street of Decane, as they react to the decision of a U.N. court to acquit Ramush Haradinaj, the former prime minister of Kosovo, in Decane, Kosovo, Thursday, April 3, 2008.   (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
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(Newser) – The UN's tribunal in the Hague has acquitted a former commander of the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army of all charges of war crimes. Ramush Haradinaj, who also briefly served as the breakaway province's prime minister, was cleared of murder, persecution, rape and torture of Kosovo Serb civilians. The verdict threatens to inflame anti-Kosovo sentiment in Serbia, writes the New York Times.

Haradinaj will in all likelihood receive a hero's welcome when he returns to Kosovo as early as tomorrow. But in their ruling the judges decried a pattern of witness intimidation. Of Haradinaj's two co-defendents, one was also acquitted and the other was sentenced to six years in prison for torture and cruel treatment of prisoners.