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Serbia asks UN to investigate former officials in Kosovo
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11:04, April 13, 2008

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Serbia has asked the United Nations to investigate its former officials in Kosovo on the allegation that they obstructed the work of the U.N. war crimes tribunal.

Director of the National Council Office for Cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Dusan Ignatovic said Friday that the council has decided to ask the U.N. secretary general for an enquiry into activities of officials from the U.N. mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) regarding the claims by the former ICTY chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte in her newly published book "The Hunt".

In her autobiographical book "The Hunt, Me and War Criminals", Del Ponte openly accused U.N. officials and local authorities in Kosovo of being uncooperative in investigating alleged crimes against Serb civilians during the ethnic Albanian rebellion in 1998-1999, which ultimately led to unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo on Feb. 17.

The council decided Thursday to ask the ICTY Prosecution to start proceedings against former UNMIK chief Soren Jessen Petersen and other officials on allegations that they obstructed investigation and showed contempt of the court, Ignatovic said, adding "Petersen was a special representative of the U.N. secretary general, which is why the investigation is important."

Ignatovic said the council has for a long time been aware of a strange relation between Petersen and former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commander Ramush Haradinaj, who was acquitted recently by the ICTY of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Petersen used to call Haradinaj his friend and described him as a factor of peace and stability in Kosovo, he noted.

Ignatovic said Serbia should react after Del Ponte revealed in her book that UNMIK officials obstructed the investigation of Haradinaj and that ethnic Serbs have been kidnapped and their organs were sold to international traffickers.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has urged Kosovo authorities to investigate into the claims that KLA was involved in the organ trafficking of abducted Serbs.

Russian Foreign Ministry also asked the prosecutor's office to provide an explanation and details of crimes described in a book by the former prosecutor.

The Association of Families of Kidnapped and Missing Serbs in Kosovo has announced that a lawsuit would be filed against the former Hague chief prosecutor for "concealing the crimes" that ethnic Albanians committed against Serbs in the province nine years ago.

Source: Xinhua

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