Engel: Detention of Ramush Haradinaj Unacceptable

Serbia’s Abuse of Interpol Must Stop

January 6, 2017

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement on the detention of Kosovo’s former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj:

“It is unacceptable that Serbia is abusing Interpol to target Kosovo’s former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj.  This isn’t about the rule of law or justice.  International tribunals have acquitted Mr. Haradinaj twice.  This action only foments tensions and increases the likelihood of future conflict.  I urge judicial authorities France to expedite processing of Mr. Haradinaj and release him as soon as possible.

“Chapter 35 of Belgrade’s EU accession process says that Serbia must act in ‘good faith’ on normalization of relations with Kosovo.  Serbia’s abuse of the Interpol red notice process is a fundamental violation of this commitment, and the EU should not advance Serbia’s accession unless it returns to good faith normalization of relations with Kosovo.  

“The United States values its friendship with Serbia, and I hope that this relationship advances.  However, Serbia’s misuse of Interpol will only reverse this progress. 

“Finally, Kosovo has a very good record working with U.S. law enforcement, its neighbors, and other international actors to halt terrorist threats.  It was widely praised recently for helping dismantle a serious terror threat to an Israeli sports team.  Kosovo has expressed an interest in joining Interpol, and it’s time for the young country to be admitted for its security and for the region.”