The trial has begun in the Hague of the former Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj. The 38-year-old pleaded not guilty to charges of war crimes stemming from his time as a former regional commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army or KLA. In her opening statement, UN Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte branded Haradinaj a warlord with blood on his hands. He and two co-defendants are accused of driving Serbs and Roma from their villages and attacking those considered collaborators.
The high-profile trial comes at a sensitive time for Kosovo. A controversial UN plan proposing limited independence for the province is being finalised. However, on Saturday, Kosovar Albanians demanding immediate independence from Serbia rallied in Pristina. Last month, Haradinaj called for patience during the negotiations.