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Kosovo President Hashim Thaci Indicted for War Crimes; Withdraws from White House Talks

File photograph of Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci (Image: Reuters)

The Specialist Chamber was arrange in The Hague in 2015 to deal with instances of alleged crimes by Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) guerrillas through the conflict that led to Kosovo’s independence from Serbia a decade later.

  • Agencies
  • Last Updated: June 24, 2020, 11:54 PM IST

A particular prosecutor’s workplace coping with Kosovo’s 1998-99 rebellion in opposition to Serbian rule mentioned on Wednesday it had indicted Kosovo President Hashim Thaci for alleged conflict crimes and crimes in opposition to humanity together with almost 100 murders.

The Specialist Chamber was arrange in The Hague in 2015 to deal with instances of alleged crimes by Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) guerrillas through the conflict that led to Kosovo’s independence from Serbia a decade later.

The indictment is “the result of a lengthy investigation and reflects the SPO’s (Special Prosecutor’s Office) determination that it can prove all of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt,” the SPO mentioned in an announcement.

It mentioned “others” had additionally been indicted together with Kadri Veseli, a former speaker of Kosovo’s parliament. Thaci and Veseli, each ex-top commanders within the KLA, have beforehand denied involvement in any conflict crimes through the late 1990s battle. The SPO gave no particulars of the alleged conflict crimes.

It additionally mentioned Thaci and Veseli had been believed “to have carried out a secret campaign to overturn the law that created the Court and otherwise obstruct the work of the Court in an attempt to ensure that they do not face justice.”

There was no rapid response from Thaci. But his workplace mentioned in a while Wednesday he had cancelled a visit to the White House in Washington for a deliberate first spherical of US-mediated talks with Serbia on normalising relations – amongst situations the European Union has set for both nation to affix the bloc.

The Specialist Chamber is ruled by Kosovo legislation however is staffed by worldwide judges and prosecutors.

War crimes allegations in opposition to the KLA first surfaced in a 2011 report by the Council of Europe rights company that accused guerrillas of killing civilian Serbs and ethnic Albanian political opponents through the 1998-99 battle.

Local efforts to analyze alleged KLA conflict crimes have up to now been foiled by widespread intimidation within the tiny state the place clan loyalties run deep and former rebels are lionised.

The particular prosecutor’s workplace relies within the Netherlands partly to assist guarantee safety of witnesses.

Thaci Withdraws from White House Talks

Thaci pulled out of a White House assembly with Serbian officers set for Saturday following his indictment. US presidential envoy Richard Grenell, who invited Kosovar and Serbian officers to satisfy in Washington to leap begin their stalled peace talks, tweeted that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci determined to postpone his journey to Washington.

Grenell wrote: “I respect his decision not to attend the discussions until the legal issues of those allegations are settle. The discussions will proceed and be led by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti,” the US envoy mentioned. Grenell mentioned.

Thaci and 9 different former separatist fighters had been indicted on a variety of crimes in opposition to humanity and conflict crimes expenses by a courtroom investigating crimes in opposition to ethnic Serbs, Albanians and Roma throughout and after Kosovo’s 1998-99 independence conflict with Serbia.

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers mentioned the indictment accuses them of being “criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders” of political opponents and Kosovar Albanian, Serb and Roma victims.


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