Kosovo president to resign if war crimes charges confirmed

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Kosovo President Hashim Thaci waits for the Albanian prime minister prior to their meeting in Pristina on June 29, 2020. – Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said on June 29 he would resign if charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity filed by prosecutors last week are confirmed by a special tribunal in The Hague. “If the charges are confirmed, I will immediately resign as your President and face the accusations,” Thaci said in a national address broadcasted on Facebook about allegations linked to his role as political leader of a rebel army during Kosovo’s 1998-99 war with Serbia. (Photo by Armend NIMANI / AFP)


Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said Monday he would “immediately resign” if a special court in The Hague confirms war crimes charges levied against him last week over his role in Kosovo’s 1990s war.

The charges, which include murder, enforced disappearances, persecution and torture, were filed by special prosecutors investigating crimes from Kosovo’s uprising against Serbia two decades ago.

Thaci, 52, was the political leader of the ethnic Albanian rebels who waged the separatist conflict that paved the path for Kosovo’s independence.

“If the accusation is confirmed, I will immediately resign as your President and face the accusations,” Thaci, considered Kosovo’s most powerful politician, said in his first national address following the allegations.

“I will not face justice from this office,” he added.

The indictment still needs approval from a pre-trial judge, which could take months, to try the president.

But prosecutors said they rushed the announcement because Thaci and other suspects had been trying to obstruct the work of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, a Hague-based court that operates under Kosovo law but has international judges.

The indictment accused Thaci, his closest political ally Kadri Veseli and others of being “criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders” in addition to other crimes against Serb, Roma and Kosovo Albanian victims.

In his speech Thaci insisted he was “not a saint” but that “there has not been, and could not be, even a single piece of evidence addressed to Hashim Thaci for violations of any law.”

US summit scrapped
President since 2016 and prime minister before that, Thaci has dominated Kosovo politically ever since he helped sever it from Belgrade.

That conflict ended after a NATO bombing forced Serb troops to withdraw from Kosovo in 1999.

Serbian military and police officials were later convicted by international justice of war crimes during the conflict that left 13,000 people dead, mainly ethnic Albanians.

But rebels from the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) have also been accused of coordinating a campaign of revenge attacks on Serbs, Roma and ethnic Albanian rivals during and after the war.

Like Thaci, many rebel commanders dropped their fatigues for politicians’ suits during Kosovo’s first decade of independence.

Critics accuse them of miring the young democracy in corruption while doing little to lift ordinary Kosovars from poverty.

But the war crimes charges have upset even Thaci’s detractors, who are steadfast in their support of Kosovo’s “just” independence struggle.

Twenty years later, Serbia still refuses to accept Kosovo’s statehood, a constant source of tension in the region.

Thaci was forced to cancel a trip to the US to discuss lingering hostilities with his Serbian counterpart after the charges were announced, scuppering the summit.

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960 Comments

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  • Wisdom Jumbo June 30, 2020 12:01:30 AM
    The president is taking a big risk to make such a statement.
  • Maria Shiloh June 30, 2020 12:00:26 AM
    Kosovo president said that he would resign if the special court in hague confirm the crime levied against him
  • Olayode Oluwafemi June 29, 2020 11:59:37 PM
    Thank you for this information Kosovo President Hashim Thaci but he was firced to cancel this trip to the US to attend the meeting
  • Kolawole Fajobi June 29, 2020 11:59:06 PM
    I have never heard that a president resigned... First time in history
  • ThankGod Wosu June 29, 2020 11:58:38 PM
    Can this kind of thing happen in Nigeria our leaders go just put the geogies inside there pocket
  • Sunday Blessing June 29, 2020 11:58:21 PM
    Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said Monday he would “immediately resign” if a special court in The Hague confirms war crimes charges levied against him last week over his role in Kosovo’s 1990s war. Great
  • Bobola Ajimuda June 29, 2020 11:58:20 PM
    That is a stable country This can never happen in Nigeria too much of corruption
  • Ikechukwu Korie June 29, 2020 11:57:44 PM
    He ought to honourable resign.
  • Nnadozie Precious June 29, 2020 11:57:36 PM
    Politics at its verge again so they would now declare him to resign what if it's was a set up then.
  • Bukola Olurunmola June 29, 2020 11:57:26 PM
    Thanks candynews for this insightful information and update
  • Chinonso David June 29, 2020 11:57:22 PM
    Wow this is something that actually happened years back if confirmed
  • Abiodun Kunle June 29, 2020 11:57:14 PM
    Never u think for war please embrace peace
  • Juliana Adejoh June 29, 2020 11:57:14 PM
    War is a thing that erupts a great nation. They should always remember that one needs to ambrace peace in every measure
  • Deborah Chiamaka June 29, 2020 11:57:08 PM
    That is an example of selflessness and regards for the rule of law, unlike Nigeria where the opposite is the case
  • Oluwaseun Toyin June 29, 2020 11:56:29 PM
    Hmm, war cannot help us in this country , he should be sentence to life
  • Victor Onwuchekwa June 29, 2020 11:56:18 PM
    thanks for the information candy news
  • Ogba Ebenezer June 29, 2020 11:55:31 PM
    You will never see an African leader resign, no matter the weight of the crime
  • Akaniru Praise June 29, 2020 11:55:11 PM
    Nice update and information, thank you candynews
  • David Duru June 29, 2020 11:54:54 PM
    He should be sentenced to life or hanging if true
  • Awwal Saleh June 29, 2020 11:54:51 PM
    Thanks candynews for this insightful information and update
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