Fatmir Limaj – one of two men acquitted in Kosovo’s first war crimes trial – was given a hero’s welcome as he returned to the troubled province last night.
On the streets, there were scenes of jubilation as Kosovo Albanians celebrated with gunshots and fireworks.
On Wednesday the UN war crimes tribunal in the Hague ruled there was not enough evidence to link Limaj and his co-accused to atrocities committed at a prison camp run by the Kosovan Liberation Army in 1998.
A third man was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
But the acquittal of Limaj, an opposition politician who was once a senior figure in the KLA, is being seen by many here as a victory for justice.
However the verdict has been strongly criticised by Serb politicians, stoking tension as talks loom on the final status of the province, which remains part of Serbia despite being under UN control.
The latest violence to hit the troubled province came only yesterday, just south of Pristina.
Six Kosovo Albanians were injured when a group of Serb school pupils stoned several passing cars – a warning to international forces in the region that their work could be far from over.