Hashim Thaci has rejected the accusations of the Prosecutor in war crimes. The Special Tribunal in the Hague must decide whether to approve the indictment.
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci attended the first court session in the Hague on Monday, July 13. The politician appeared before the Special Tribunal for the investigation of war crimes in Kosovo, which he is suspected of committing during the war of independence of the province from Serbia in 1998-1999.
"I am ready to accept a new challenge and win for the sake of my son, family, people, and country," he said, speaking to reporters in front of the Tribunal. "No one can rewrite history," he believes.
At the end of June, the Prosecutor's office of the special Tribunal accused Thaci and eight other representatives of the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) of committing violent crimes that injured hundreds of Kosovo Albanians, Serbs, Roma, and other nationalities, as well as political opponents of these individuals. Among other things, President Thaci and other suspects "are criminally responsible for about 100 murders," the Prosecutor's office said in a statement.
Thaci talks about " political mistakes"
The President of Kosovo denies the charges against him. He said he may have made "political mistakes" but not war crimes. The indictment consists of ten items.
The Special Tribunal has until October to consider the Prosecutor's arguments and decide whether to bring formal charges against Thaci. The conclusion was submitted to the Tribunal on April 24, but the Prosecutor's office was in no hurry to make this fact public. The decision to publish it was made because Hashim Thaci and former President of the Parliament of the Republic Qadri Veseli tried to interfere with the work of this body, hoping to avoid prosecution, the press statement said. The President of Kosovo said that if the special court approves the indictment, he is ready to resign.
More than 10,000 people were killed
Hashim Thaci was one of the founders of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which operated during the 1998-1999 war. From 2000 to 2016, he was the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), formerly the political wing of the KLA. In 2008-2014, Thaci served as Prime Minister of the Republic, then head of the Foreign Ministry, and in early 2016 was elected President of Kosovo.
As a result of the war in Kosovo, more than 10,000 people were killed and 1,641 people are still missing. The armed conflict ended after NATO airstrikes on Serbia that lasted 78 days. Subsequently, Kosovo broke away from Serbia and unilaterally declared independence from Belgrade. However, Serbia, along with Russia and a number of EU countries, still do not recognize Kosovo's independence.