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Kosovar President indicted for crimes against humanity and war crimes




Hashim Thaçi will face charges of crimes against humanity (Photo: Presidency of Kosovo)
Hashim Thaçi will face charges of crimes against humanity (Photo: Presidency of Kosovo)
KOSOVO. The prosecutor of the special court for Kosovo has charged Hashim Thaçi with "crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution and torture" during the war waged by this Serbian province against Serbia (1998-1999). The current president, since April 2016 of this state of 2 million inhabitants, was one of the commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a guerrilla movement for independence.

Based in The Hague, the special tribunal created in 2015 brought ten charges against Hashim Thaçi on 24 April 2020, but did not release this information until two months later. Together with Kadri Veseli, former intelligence chief of the Kosovar guerrilla movement and now president of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), he is allegedly "criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders, mainly against Serbs, Roma and other ethnic groups, but also against political opponents", according to a court statement. At the same time, the court accused the two main defendants of "repeated efforts to obstruct and undermine the work of KSC". Hashim Thaçi and Kadri Veseli are alleged to have "conducted a secret campaign to circumvent the law establishing the Court and then to obstruct the work of the Court in order to ensure that they would not be brought to justice", the prosecutor's statement continued.

The agreement between Kosovo and Serbia is compromised by this indictment
This information comes as Hashim Thaçi and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vučić were due to travel to Washington on Saturday 27 June 2020 for direct negotiations aimed at relaunching talks on a rapprochement between the two countries with American support. Serbia has still not recognised the independence (unilaterally proclaimed in February 2008) of what it considers an autonomous province under the name Kosovo-and-Metohija. Neither have the UN or the European Union (22 out of 27 member states).

The Kosovar president has announced that he is cancelling his presence at the summit. His new Prime Minister since 3 June 2020, Avdulah Hoti (LDK) could represent him. Kosovo is also in the midst of a political crisis after the resignation, at the end of March 2020, of its Prime Minister Albin Kurti following a motion of censure tabled by the LDK, a party in his own coalition, and after only four months in office. He opposed Hachim Thaçi on the proclamation of a state of emergency in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, fearing a strengthening of the president's powers.

This indictment in any case jeopardises the conclusion of a "final agreement" between the two countries. The meeting in the US was to be followed by talks in July 2020 under the auspices of the European Union.
 

Frédéric Dubessy


Thursday, June 25th 2020



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