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Kosovo war crimes court arrests guerrilla veterans’ leader, lawyer says

PRISTINA — European Union police on Friday arrested the head of Kosovo’s war veterans group and he was being flown to a war crimes tribunal in the Netherlands to face as yet unspecified charges, his lawyer said on Friday.

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague, mandated to investigate and prosecute suspects in war crimes committed during Kosovo’s 1998-99 guerrilla uprising against Serbian rule, declined to comment on the reported arrest.

Witnesses said Hysni Gucati, head of Kosovo’s War Veterans Association, was handcuffed and bundled into an EU police car by masked officers in the tiny Balkan country’s capital Pristina.

In recent weeks Gucati and his aides had published dozens of court documents with the names of suspects, witnesses and civilians allegedly murdered during the uprising, which eventually won Kosovo independence in 2008.

“He was never interviewed on war crimes charges and, based on the documents we saw, he may have been arrested on obstruction of justice charges,” Tome Gashi, lawyer for the War Veterans’ Association, told Reuters.

Earlier this week the tribunal prosecutor’s office condemned the veterans association’s release of the case documents as an attempt to “undermine the proper administration of justice.”

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