North Macedonia’s Albanian leader summoned by The Hague

War crimes prosecutors in The Hague have called for questioning the veteran head of North Macedonia’s Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) party, Ali Ahmeti, who was a guerrilla fighter during the conflicts in both Kosovo and North Macedonia, news wires reported. He confirmed that he has accepted the request “without any hesitation”.

“I have always been a supporter of non-selective justice and I am fully available to justice institutions to prove the purity of liberation war of Albanian people facing the genocide of the Serbian regime of [Slobodan] Milosevic,” Ahmeti wrote on Facebook account.

The Special Prosecutor’s Office declined to provide information on why Ahmeti was summoned to The Hague. “The Special Prosecutor’s Office does not provide information about his investigation, so I can neither confirm nor deny anything,” Chris Bent from the SPO said.

Ahmeti served in both the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which fought for the independence of Kosovo from Serbia, and then in the Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA), which fought against North Macedonia’s security forces during a short armed conflict in 2001. After the conflict ended with a peace deal which granted ethnic Albanians greater rights, in 2002 Ahmeti and former NLA fighters formed the DUI party. Since then, the DUI has remained the biggest ethnic Albanian party in North Macedonia and has been the junior ruling party in several governments, including the latest, led by the Social Democrats.

The invitation for Ahmeti came in the week after Hague prosecutors concluded their four-day questioning of Kosovo President Hashim Thaci. The invitation also comes just few days after the 15 July general elections in North Macedonia, in which DUI strengthened its positions as the top Albanian party in the country by winning 15 seats in the 120-seat parliament, making it again the most likely kingmaker during forthcoming talks about the formation of the next government.

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