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Last Updated: Monday, 17 January, 2005, 15:43 GMT
Text: Interview with Kosovo PM
In an interview with the BBC, Kosovan Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj says he is proud of the role he played in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and believes there will be an independent Kosovo within a year.

Below is a transcript of his interview with Matt Prodger in Pristina.

Ramush Haradinaj
Haradinaj was the KLA's commander in western Kosovo

Q: The Serbian government accuses you of being implicated in war crimes committed during your period as a KLA commander in 1998-1999. Do you have anything to hide?

A: My position is that I will fully co-operate with international justice and with the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia). Whatever obligations there are, I will fulfil. That's the same for all Kosovars. I believe there is no case against me.

Q: Nonetheless, you were questioned twice by prosecutors from The Hague in November. It's possible that you will be indicted. If you are, will you surrender yourself to the Hague without resistance?

A: If that's the case, then I will fulfil my duty. But there is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. I was questioned, I co-operated, and that's the only contact with the ICTY I've had, and the only thing they've asked me to do.

Q: You say you'll fulfil your obligations, but what about the feeling on the ground here in Kosovo? Many people will be angry if you're summoned to The Hague. Will there be violence?

A: I won't speculate about this. I'm confident there's no case against me. I know my background, I know what I did. The government of [former Serbian leader] Slobodan Milosevic was famous for fabricating evidence.

Q: And you believe the evidence against you is fabricated?

A: I know it is. This from a country populated with mass graves of Kosovar Albanians. And I can tell you I'm surprised I was interview by Hague prosecutors based on allegations from the same government which committed atrocities not just here, but across the region.

Q: You mentioned the issue of mass graves. Many ethnic Albanians and Serbs are still missing more than five years after the war. You have demanded the return of the bodies of dead Albanians. But on the other hand, what would you say to the mother of Serbs missing since the war who wants to know where her sons are, for example?

A: I would explain that there is a need for everyone to know the truth about what happened to their family members. As you know, the statistics show that most of the missing are Kosovar Albanians. But there are Serbs and other groups as well. We are working in Kosovo to provide all the evidence about what we know of the missing. If bodies have been identified in Serbia, we want them back. This is a humanitarian obligation to end the suffering of these families.

Q: You're a former KLA commander. Are you proud of the record of the KLA, or are there some aspects of their conduct that concern you?

A: We had two options. Leave the country, as many Kosovars did, or try to defend ourselves and our families. I made the decision that I wanted to defend myself, my family and Kosovo. So if you ask me, am I proud? Yes I am.

Q: And are you proud of your three former KLA colleagues already in The Hague facing war crimes charges?

A: Let me tell you this: I'm proud of their decision to defend their families and country. If justice proves that anything they did...

Q: ...or you did?

A: ...that anybody did was against the logic of a man fighting for his freedom, family and country, then I will not be proud, no.

Q: You want Kosovo to be independent from Serbia. When do you expect that to happen?

A: A lot will be decided this year. A formal decision might come in January 2006.

Q: So within a year there may be an independent Kosovo?

A: Yes.

Timeline: Kosovo
10 Nov 04 |  Country profiles
Regions and territories: Kosovo
02 Dec 04 |  Country profiles


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