Russia slammed the acquittal of a former Kosovo guerrilla fighter, accusing the Hague tribunal of engaging in “selective justice” and conniving at “blackmail, intimidation and killing” of witnesses.

In a strong-worded statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry described as “scandalous” the trial of Ramush Haradinaj, former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army and former Prime Minister of Kosovo, and his two subordinates.

“For the first time in the history of international justice, witnesses in the case were subject to open blackmail and intimidation, and some of them were even physically eliminated,” said the statement. “Those actions took place in an atmosphere of complete impunity and with the connivance of the international presences in Kosovo.”

The commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army were accused of “cruel treatment, torture and murder of prisoners in the KLA-run camp at Jablanica” during the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, but were cleared of all charges on Thursday.

“This verdict, along with the recent acquittal of Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, is another evidence of selective justice, when persons who are accused of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes go unpunished,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Russia firmly opposed the secession of Kosovo from Serbia and refused to recognise its independence.

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