Hashim Thaçi, President of Kosovo, heard in The Hague for war crime

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Hashim Thaçi, President of Kosovo since 2016, announced that he would face international justice with “Dignity and integrity”. The 52-year-old former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), who led a separatist guerrilla war against the Serbian forces, has promised not to escape, although he is to be heard on Monday 13 July by the special court. for Kosovo (KSC), headquartered in The Hague.

→ READ. Kosovo president accused of crimes against humanity

This court, which complies with the laws of Kosovo but has international judges, was created in 2015 to try crimes committed between 1998 and 2000, during and after the Kosovo war which left 13,000 people dead, mainly Albanians.

Any jump a political brake

Hashim Thaçi is accused of being “Responsible for almost 100 murders”, enforced disappearances, persecution and torture of Serbs or Roma, or of Kosovo Albanian rivals. The President has not yet been properly charged, but has promised that he will leave ” at once “ his functions if the charges against him were retained.

Hashim Thaçi is not alone to appear in The Hague. Kadri Veseli, his right-hand man and leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), is the subject of the same charges. “Over the past two years, many former members of the KLA (…) have been heard” in The Hague, wrote Hashim Thaçi on his Facebook profile. In reality, the PDK has been implicated by international justice for much longer.

In 2005, the former Premier of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, remained in office for three months before being charged with three war crime charges in 2005 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Relieved for lack of witnesses in 2008, that did not prevent him in the process, to become again prime minister of independent Kosovo, this time, and to assume these functions again in 2017, until he is again accused by the special court for Kosovo in 2019. Hashim Thaçi, prime minister between 2014 and 2016, is one of those former guerrilla leaders who dominated political life in Kosovo during its first decade of independence.

Nicknamed “the snake” during the war

Hailing from a modest family in the Drenica region, the cradle of separatism, he became active in 1991 while studying philosophy and history at the University of Pristina. Exiled to Switzerland and Germany, he was there with future members of the KLA, of which he became one of the leaders of the political wing. During the war, the one who is nicknamed ” the snake “ proclaims himself prime minister of the provisional government of Kosovo.

More recently as president of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi had embarked on a race against time to succeed in sealing an agreement with Belgrade which still refuses to recognize the independence of its old province. Something to go into history and make you forget the past. But the prosecutor of the special court decided to release his indictment on June 24, “Due to the repeated efforts of Hashim Thaçi and Kadri Veseli to obstruct and undermine the work of the court”.

At this point, Hashim Thaçi was on his way to Washington for negotiations with his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic, and Donald Trump’s emissary for the Serbia-Kosovo negotiations, Richard Grenell, with a view to settling a dispute. After the American failure, the European Union has now taken up the torch of mediation between the two countries. After two first videoconferences on July 10 and 12, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovan Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti (to replace Hashim Thaçi) are to meet physically on Thursday July 16.

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