Kosovo's prime minister joins Milosevic as he awaits war crimes trial

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The Independent Online

One day after stepping down as Kosovo's prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj was last night awaiting a court appearance on war crimes charges and sharing the same UN detention centre as Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president.

One day after stepping down as Kosovo's prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj was last night awaiting a court appearance on war crimes charges and sharing the same UN detention centre as Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president.

Mr Haradninaj , the most senior former ethnic Albanian guerrilla to be accused of atrocities in the 1998-99 insurgency, said farewell to his wife and 200 supporters in Kosovo before boarding a noon flight to The Hague yesterday. Lahi Brahimaj, another suspect named in the indictment, travelled on the same flight. On arrival, the former premier was taken into custody in Scheveningen where detainees are held while facing the tribunal. Mr Haradinaj is the first serving head of government since Mr Milosevic to be indicted and the two men will share a prison complex. But the former enemies are unlikely to cross paths because prisoners are carefully segregated. Amid fears of a popular backlash after the indictment, Nato put extra security precautions in place in Kosovo, but the small protests mounted by Mr Haradinaj's supporters caused few problems for the authorities.

A former nightclub bouncer in Switzerland, Mr Haradinaj became a regional commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army during the insurgency against Serb forces. The court will release the indictment against him soon, but the charges are thought to relate to the abduction and murder of Serbs, and of ethnic Albanians thought to have collaborated with Serbian authorities. When he stepped down as Kosovo's premier on Tuesday, Mr Haradinaj proclaimed his innocence.

His remarkable rise culminated in late 2004 when he was named prime minister of the UN-run province, which technically remains part of Serbia. In September, the international community starts talks on the future of Kosovo and Mr Haradinaj had hoped to preside over his country's move to independence.

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