The Hague Prosecutor’s Office Brought Charges against President of Kosovo

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The Hague prosecutor’s office has filed charges against the president of the partially recognized Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, and former chairman of the Kosovo parliament, Kadri Veseli. They are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity in 1998-1999. A statement by the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) for Kosovo says that Thaci, Veseli and several others are suspected of involvement in the killing of about a hundred people, as well as enforced disappearance, persecution and torture of people during or after the end of the armed conflict in Kosovo. The investigation notes that the victims of the crimes were representatives of different ethnicities, including Kosovo Albanian, Serbs, and Roma. Victim lists also include political opponents, the Radio Liberty’s Balkan Service reports. Thaci and Veseli were commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army, a militant group of ethnic Albanian that fought against Belgrade’s security forces in the 1998-99 war. Hashim Thaci denies involvement in any war crimes, as does Kadri Veseli, who is one of the leaders of the Democratic Party of Kosovo and continues to serve as a lawmaker. According to Veseli, he “is proud to have taken part in the liberation war of the Kosovo people”. On Wednesday, after the SPO’s statement, Thaci’s office said he decided to interrupt his trip to the United States and return to Kosovo on June 25. Thaci was scheduled to hold talks in Washington with Serbian President Alexander Vučić on Saturday to normalize relations between the countries. Charges will further be examined by the Special International Tribunal for Kosovo, which was established in the Netherlands in 2015. The reason was the PACE report published couple years earlier. It stated that members of the Kosovo Liberation Army in the late 1990s and early 2000s were involved in serious crimes, such as drug trafficking, kidnapping and killing, and trafficking in human organs.