Former KLA fighter Tomor Morina was released from detention and returned to Kosovo on Wednesday afternoon after North Macedonia’s Supreme Court earlier the same day ruled that there were no legal grounds for his extradition to Serbia.
Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli welcomed the release.
“I am thankful to authorities of North Macedonia for principled decision on this issue and the cooperation we had to resolve this in the best possible way,” Pacolli said.
Morina’s lawyer, Naser Raufi told media that his client used his Kosovo passport to cross the border, as his British passport is still held by the North Macedonia authorities.
Morina was arrested in North Macedonia in July 24 on a Serbian warrant as he was entering the country from Kosovo.
The Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office told BIRN after the arrest that it suspects him of involvement in war crimes against civilians in the Djakovica/Gjakova area of Kosovo from January to June 1999.
The failure to extradite Morina angered the Serbian authorities.
“This is a great shame for international law, but it is an even bigger blow and a great sadness for the families of the victims, who have been waiting for justice for their loved ones for decades,” Serbian Justice Minister Nela Kuburovic said on Wednesday.
“Although all the necessary supporting evidence was provided to the authorities of North Macedonia, the decision was made contrary to the truth and the facts,” she added.
After Morina was arrested, North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev insisted that he would not get involved in the case, leaving it up to the courts to reach a decision on the extradition request.
However, government ministers from the ranks of the junior party in the ruling coalition, the Democratic Union for Integration, the biggest ethnic Albanian party in North Macedonia, had called for Morina’s release.