On Wednesday, a special prosecutor’s office in charge of rebelling in Kosovo against Serbian rule in 1998-99 said it accused Kosovo’s president Hashim Thaci of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, including nearly 100 murders, according to Reuters.
A special chamber was created in The Hague in 2015 to address cases of alleged crimes by Hashim Thaci of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the war that led to Kosovo’s independence from Serbia.
The charge is “the result of a lengthy investigation and reflects the decision of the SPO (Special Prosecutor’s Office) that it can prove all the charges without any reasonable doubt,” said the statement of the Special Prosecutor’s Office.
The statement said that “others” were also charged, including Kadri Veseli, the former speaker of the Kosovo parliament. Tachi and Veseli, both former KLA commanders, had previously denied involvement in any war crimes during the conflict in the late 1990s. The special prosecutor’s office did not provide details of the alleged war crimes.
It also said that Tachi and Veseli are believed to have “carried out a secret campaign to repeal the law that the local Court created, and otherwise impeded the work of the Court in an attempt to ensure that they would not be brought to justice.”
Later this week, Hashim Thaci is expected to leave for the United States for the first round of talks with Serbia through the White House to normalize relations – one of the key conditions that the European Union has set for each of the countries in the bloc.
The Kosovo court and the prosecutor’s office are governed by the laws of Kosovo, but international judges and prosecutors work in it, and they are funded by the EU, which both Kosovo and Serbia seek to join.
The Kosovo court is partially located in the Dutch city of The Hague to help ensure the protection of witnesses. Prior to the creation of the court, some investigations involving senior former UAC members were marked by intimidation of witnesses.
To date, not a single member of the KLA has been convicted of war crimes. Several senior members of the Serbian security forces were convicted and imprisoned for war crimes in the conflict in Kosovo by a separate US tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
© The Eastern Herald