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KOSOVO: 1st Kosovar Albanian arrested on war crimes charges

Kosovo War Crimes Arrest
Kosovo War Crimes Arrest(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

A special international court said Thursday that a former commander of the separatist fighters in Kosovo’s 1998-1999 war has been arrested as part of a war crimes and crimes against humanity investigation stemming from the conflict with Serbia

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers, based in The Hague said former Kosovo Liberation Army commander Salih Mustafa was arrested based on a “warrant, transfer order and confirmed indictment issued by a pre-trial judge.” The court’s statement didn’t identify the charges on which he was indicted.

The court said Mustafa would be transferred to its detention facilities in The Hague and “appear before the pre-trial judge without undue delay.” He is the first ethnic Albanian to be arrested on war crimes charges arising from the 1990s conflict.

The Kosovo Liberation Army was made up of ethnic Albanian rebels who wanted Kosovo’s independence from Serbia. Mustafa oversaw fighters in the Llapi area, 35 kilometers (20 miles) north of the capital, Pristina.

He later served as intelligence chief of the Kosovo Security Forces, military troops created in 2009 as a transitional unit before becoming a regular army.

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers and an attached Special Prosecutor’s Office, or SPO, was established five years ago to look into allegations that KLA members committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.