Foreign

Kosovo President steps down, heads to Hague over war crime

Kosovo President steps down, heads to Hague over war crime

 

President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci has resigned his office, ahead of his arraignment at the Hague court to face  war crimes.

Thaci announced his resignation at a news conference in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital where he said he was taking the step “to protect the integrity of the presidency of Kosovo”.

Thaci was a guerrilla leader during the country’s war for independence from Serbia in the 1990s,

“I will cooperate closely with justice. I believe in truth, reconciliation and the future of our country and society,” he said at the conference.

Thaci was indicted by a special Kosovo court based in The Hague, Netherlands, which was set up to try the alleged crimes of former ethnic Albanian rebel leaders.

The former premier who became president in 2016, has long insisted on his innocence over a war that many Kosovars consider a “just” struggle for their independence from Serbian oppression.

Serbia does not recognise Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence. Serbia and Kosovo have been engaged in negotiations brokered with the European Union since 2011 in an attempt to normalise relations and open the door for EU membership.

Three other former commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) that fought for independence from Serbia have been charged with war crimes by the court and an associated special prosecutor’s office established five years ago.

Exact details of the 10-count indictment against Thaçi, Veseli and others have not been released.

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