Kosovo President Hashim Thaci Indicted for War Crimes

A Hague-based special prosecutor indicted Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and nine others Wednesday for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during Kosovo’s 1998-99 war for independence from Serbia.In a press release Wednesday, the Special Prosecutor’s Office alleged that the 10 people charged were “criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders” during the war, which involved “hundreds of known victims of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities and include political opponents.” Other crimes include forced disappearances, persecution and torture. “[The indictment] is the result of a lengthy investigation and reflects the SPO’s determination that it can prove all of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt,” the release said. The Office filed the indictments on April 24. A Kosovo Specialist Chamber pre-trial judge will decide whether to confirm the charges after reviewing the indictment. The Kosovo Specialist Chamber and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office were formally established in 2016 as a Kosovo court based in the Netherlands. It operates under Kosovo law but is funded by the European Union and staffed by international judges and prosecutors. The announcement Wednesday came three days before Thaci and Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti were scheduled to visit the White House for a summit with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. Richard Grenell, President Donald Trump’s special envoy to Serbia and Kosovo, tweeted Wednesday that Thaci canceled his Washington trip.Hoti and Vucic will still attend, he wrote.We look forward to Saturday’s discussions which will be led by President Vucic and Prime Minister Hoti. https://t.co/j7KhhfbQX1
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) FILE – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks at a news conference in Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 12, 2020.Speaking about the upcoming White House talks, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called it an opportunity to restart dialogue between all parties by “making a real effort to find a political solution for the situation in Kosovo.”  “And of course we would strongly welcome the resumption of talks between Belgrade and Pristina to try to find a solution. It is not for NATO or any other countries to dictate the outcome. But the fact that they meet is at least an encouraging first step to the resumption of talks,” Stoltenberg said in response to questions from VOA’s Serbian Service. He stressed that NATO has good relations with both sides. The Western Alliance also has a long history in the Balkans, helping to end wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Kosovo, noted Stoltenberg.  VOA’s Serbian Service contributed to this report. 

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