VATRA’S Petition to the French Embassy in Washington, D.C./
– The Serbian warrant accused Mr. Haradinaj for alleged war crimes committed during the bloody war of 1998-99 in Kosovo, imposed by the criminal regime of Belgrade, subjecting the Albanian population to a brutal genocide and ethnic cleansing;
– The powerful military machine of Milosevic regime started savagely killing indiscriminately young and old, violating and murdering women, killing even domestic animals, burning houses and destroying entire towns;
– The population of Kosovo rose up to protect themselves from carnage and annihilation, the youth and adults took arms and joined the Kosova Liberation Army, like the young Haradinaj with his brothers and other family men, while hundreds of thousands were displaced and most crossed the borders to Albania and Macedonia;
– The NATO Alliance, with France as a founding partner, intervened to stop the genocide and ethnic cleansing, the same as what Mr. Haradinaj was fighting for, alongside his victimized people;
– Genocide was stopped and ethnic cleansing was reversed, Kosovo was freed and, eventually, became an independent state that was promptly recognized by the most important western allies, France included, naturally;
– During the difficult post-war rebuilding of life and property, Serbia continued and still does, to add salt to the wounds of the people of Kosovo, by a list of means too long to mention here, one being the hundreds of arrest warrants with false accusations against citizens and political leaders of Kosovo, attempting to portray the Albanian population as aggressor, to discredit their fight for life and to destabilize the young country;
– On March 4 of 2005, Mr. Haradinaj who was Prime Minister at that time was indicted by the International Crime Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, on the basis of the same warrant of 2004 that was the cause of his recent arrest;
– On March 8 of 2005, Mr. Haradinaj resigned from his post and voluntarily, surrendered to the said Tribunal, with the dignity of a freedom fighter and the clear conscience of an innocent man, while Serbian criminal leaders were hiding in disguise, like Mladic, Karadzic and company, trying to escape justice;
– The International Tribunal cleared Mr. Haradinaj not once but twice, having been called the second time by the same court because of new “Serbian “evidence.
– This lastest arrest of Mr. Haradinaj contradicts the verdict of the International Tribunal and should not have happen, since it only makes more difficult the ongoing negotiations between Serbia and Kosova and further aggravates the political atmosphere that is poisoned by Serbia’s continued provocations.
– Mr. Haradinaj is a hero of a just war who is being persecuted by the Serbian government for political reasons;
– We are gathered here today from different parts of the United States, as members and representatives of the Albanian American Community, called by The Pan-Albanian Federation of America VATRA, to protest the arrest of Mr. Haradinaj and to ask for his immediate release;
– Today, at the same hour, another protest called by the Albanian American leaders is going on, in front of the Permanent Mission of Serbia to the United Nations in New York City, to protest continued Serbian provocations, specifically for keeping active the warrant against Mr. Haradinaj and many others, aimed at embarrassing state officials and destabilizing the country.