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Kosovo president resigns after being indicted for war crimes

The president of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, a guerrilla leader during the war for independence of the former autonomous region of the former Yugoslavia, resigned this Thursday after the accusations of war crimes were confirmed in an international court for his time as commander of the rebels who fought Serbian forces in the late 1990s. “I will not allow myself to appear in court as president, and I resign today to protect the integrity of the state,” Thaçi said at a press conference in the capital, Pristina, collected by digital kosovar Koha.

During his appearance, the leader has defended his innocence for his actions during a conflict that, according to him, the majority of the inhabitants of Kosovo, of Albanian origin, considered “fair” to achieve the independence of the country, proclaimed unilaterally in 2008 The accusations against him may weaken the international effort of the territory to have its sovereignty recognized, accepted by more than 100 countries, although rejected by Russia, China and India, in addition to Spain and four other countries of the European Union.

Thaçi, a member of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, thus leaves the post he held since 2016 and has taken the opportunity to announce that he will travel to The Hague, headquarters of the Special Court for Kosovo (TEK), to surrender voluntarily and defend his case before that court. . Thaçi, who has been everything in Kosovar politics (Foreign Minister and Prime Minister on two occasions) has been accused of torture, crimes and enforced disappearances between 1998 and 2000 and of murdering 100 people during his time as commander of the Army of Liberation of Kosovo (ELK). In addition to Thaçi, the indictment of Kadri Veseli, a former head of the intelligence services of the Kosovar guerrilla and a man close to the president, was also confirmed. The TEK made the accusations against both public last June.

The Special Court for Kosovo, created in 2015, is tasked with trying those most responsible for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the KLA during that period against Serbs, Gypsies and Albanian opponents. The court is governed by Kosovar law, but it is made up of international judges and its sessions are held in The Hague, given the tension that this process would generate in Kosovo.


elpais.com