The FINANCIAL -- Prime Minister Hashim
Thaci lashed out on Monday at the EU's legal mission in Kosovo after it
sent one of his former wartime guerrilla allies back into custody
pending a retrial on war crimes charges.
"EULEX cannot in the dark of night, in secret... and behind the back of the legitimate institutions of the republic of Kosovo arrest freedom fighters," Thaci said. "This is unacceptable... this is not justice."
Thaci was referring to a decision on Saturday by a judge with the EU rule of law mission in Kosovo to return Fatmir Limaj, a former top Kosovo Liberation Army commander-turned politician to custody pending his retrial.
Limaj, currently a lawmaker and deputy president of Thaci's ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), is accused of torturing and killing ethnic Serb and Albanian civilians in a prison camp near the central Kosovo village of Klecka.
Limaj and three other former high-ranking members of the ethnic Albanian KLA were acquitted by a lower court in May but Kosovo's EU-led supreme court last week ordered a retrial last week although no date has yet been set.
As EUbusiness reported, the EU envoy to Kosovo, Samuel Zbogar, called on politicians to avoid commenting on ongoing cases.
The Klecka case was the first that saw a top KLA commander who fought the forces of then Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic put on trial before the local judiciary for war crimes.
The Kosovo war, which claimed around 13,000 lives, ended when a NATO -led air campaign ousted Milosevic's forces in June 1999.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Just a few months later, Brussels launched the EULEX mission to strengthen the rule of law and assist the local judiciary in tackling the most sensitive cases such as war crimes and corruption probes.