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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 March 2005, 21:00 GMT
Profile: Ramush Haradinaj
By Nick Hawton
BBC News, Sarajevo

Ramush Haradinaj
Ramush Haradinaj denies any involvement in alleged war crimes
Kosovo's Ramush Haradinaj resigned as the province's prime minister after being indicted by the international war crimes tribunal at The Hague.

Before his resignation, his colourful past made him stand out among the new generation of Kosovo politicians.

Born in western Kosovo in 1968, he, like many others, completed military service with the old Yugoslav army.

He claims his attempts to further his education in Pristina were blocked by the then Serb authorities.

He emigrated to Switzerland in 1989 and spent nine years in a number of jobs.

These included working as a security guard at sporting events and pop concerts.

Brothers killed

Mr Haradinaj returned to Kosovo in early 1998 as violence broke out between Albanian guerrillas and the Serb security forces.

He became a regional commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the west of the province. Two of his brothers were killed during the conflict.

After the war, in between studying law at Pristina University, he set up a political party - the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo.

In the last elections in October 2004, his party came third, forming a coalition government with Kosovo's largest party. Mr Haradinaj, 36, was chosen as prime minister.

Storm clouds

Western diplomats say in the few months that he was leader, he showed himself to be able, dynamic and extremely hard-working.

But the storm clouds were gathering towards the end of 2004, when he was interviewed by UN war crimes investigators looking into the alleged murders of 40 civilians in western Kosovo during the conflict.

On 8 March, the tribunal confirmed that he had been indicted, but did not disclose the charges against him.

Mr Haradinaj strenuously denies any involvement.

The former prime minister enjoys a widespread following within the Kosovo Albanian community - and hundreds turned out to see him off as he flew to the Netherlands to face the charges. He urged calm in the province during his absence.


SEE ALSO
Unmik and Serbia discuss Kosovo
17 Jan 05 |  Europe
Text: Interview with Kosovo PM
17 Jan 05 |  Europe
Timeline: Kosovo
10 Nov 04 |  Country profiles
Regions and territories: Kosovo
02 Dec 04 |  Country profiles

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