Ramush Haradinaj : biography
Ramush Haradinaj (born 3 July 1968) is a Kosovo-Albanian politician, a former officer and leader of the paramilitary organization UÇK, and the former prime minister of the disputed Kosovo. He leads the AAK party.
Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia Haradinaj was the KLA/UÇK commander for western Kosovo. Following the conflict, Haradinaj went into politics but soon resigned after becoming one of the KLA commanders charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) with war crimes and crimes against humanity against Serbs, Roma and Albanians between March and September 1998 during the Kosovo War.He was acquitted of all charges on 3 April 2008, ironically, short after the unilateral declaration of independance of Kosovo, and then the recognition of the self-proclaimed country by the United States of America. The prosecution appealed against the acquittal and argued that it was not given enough time to secure the testimony of two critical witnesses. In 2010 the Appeals Chamber agreed and ordered a partial retrial in The Hague, Netherlands. The re-trial took just over two years and on 29 November 2012, Haradinaj and his co-defendant were acquitted for a second time on all charges.
From soldier to politician
After demilitarization of the UÇK following NATO's entry into Kosovo in 1999, the UÇK was transformed into the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC). In this new force, Haradinaj was appointed as a deputy commander, under Agim Çeku.
He retired from the KPC on 11 April 2000, and announced that he was entering politics. With support from the former communist leader Mahmut Bakalli, Haradinaj founded the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), on 29 April 2000. He was elected president of the party.
Some former UÇK supporters had hoped to see Haradinaj enter a political alliance with Hashim Thaçi, the political leader of the UÇK. By 2000 Thaçi led the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK). They formed the chief opposition to the Ibrahim Rugova-led Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), which had been opposed to the UÇK. Haradinaj said he had formed a new party to create a new paradigm for the future of democratic politics in Kosovo, to leave wartime divisions behind.
Haradinaj enjoyed limited electoral success up to and including the elections of 2004. Following the Kosovo elections of October 2004, he entered into coalition talks with the LDK, led by Dr. Rugova, then President of Kosovo. Rugova formed a government and nominated Haradinaj as Prime Minister. In the Kosovo Assembly, Haradinaj’s candidacy for Prime Minister won the support of 72 members out of 120, with only three opposing.
Some observers considered Haradinaj’s coalition with the Rugova-led LDK to be a reconciliation of the animosities of the war and immediate post-war periods. The PDK opposed the coalition. Haradinaj appeared to form a close and productive working relationship with Ibrahim Rugova and other senior figures in the LDK.
In February 2009 the Ugandan Rebel Group "Allied Democratic Forces," a Muslim group, asked Haradinaj to mediate peace talks with the central government in Kampala.
On 10 November 2012 Albanian President, Bujar Nishani decorated Haradinaj with the Skanderbeg's Order., President of Albania, 2012-12-10 (in Albanian)
Family and personal life
He was formerly married to a Finnish woman with whom he has a minor son, Shkëlzen. Ramush Haradinaj is currently married to the RTK news reporter Anita Haradinaj, they have three young children, two boys and one girl.
Haradinaj has five brothers. Two of them, Luan and Shkelzën, were killed as members of the UÇK during the fights with the Serbian security forces. In December 2002, Haradinaj's brother Daut sentenced by a UN court in Kosovo for his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of four Kosovo Albanians, who belonged to the FARK, an armed formation of Kosovo Albanians and rivals of the UÇK, to five years in prison. Enver Haradinaj, an another brother of Ramush, was assassinated in April 2005 in a drive-by shootout in Kosovo. According to the UN security forces, there was a confrontation between rival Kosovo-Albanian clans. The youngest brother Frashër was still a student as of 2007 and worked in the service of the now former Provisional Institutions of Self-Government.
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