Kosovo President Charged With War Crimes

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Kosovo President Hashim Thaci

THE HAGUE: Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has been charged with 10 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the country’s conflict in the 1990s, a tribunal in The Hague said on Wednesday.

Wartime intelligence chief and former parliamentary speaker Kadri Veseli is also accused of war crimes, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) said, adding that the charges against both men were brought on April 24 but not revealed publicly.

“The indictment alleges that Hashim Thaci, Kadri Veseli and the other charged suspects are criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders,” the KSC said in a statement.

The accused are also facing other charges such as enforced disappearance of persons, persecution and torture, the tribunal said.

The crimes alleged in the indictment “involved hundreds of known victims of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities and include political opponents”, it added.

Prosecutors said they decided to make the accusations public because Thaci and Veseli had made “repeated attempts” to obstruct the KSC.

Thaci is currently preparing for a summit at the White House on Saturday with Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic, and local media reports suggested he had already left for the US. His officials could not be reached to confirm the report.

The White House meeting was organised by the US special envoy to Serbia and Kosovo Richard Grenell, who has ruffled European feathers by launching a diplomatic process between the two sides parallel to decade-long talks mediated by the EU.

Grenell has denied trying to overshadow the EU-led process, saying his meeting will focus on boosting economic ties.Trump was not expected to attend the meeting.

The EU-backed tribunal was established in 2015 to investigate crimes by independence-seeking ethnic Albanian guerrillas against mainly Serb civilians during the 1998-1999 war.

 

 

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