Just In: Kosovo President Charged For War Crimes

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Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci and nine others have been indicted by a court investigating war crimes committed during and after Kosovo’s independence war with Serbia.

A statement issued on Wednesday by the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) in The Hague, the Netherlands, said Thaci and the others suspects were “criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders” of Kosovar Albanian, Serb and Roma people.

In its announcement, the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) said that, on 24 April, it had filed a 10-count indictment with the KSC “for the Court’s consideration”. It has not released details about the alleged war crimes.

“The Indictment is only an accusation. It is the result of a lengthy investigation and reflects the SPO’s determination that it can prove all of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt,” it said.

The statement also said Mr Thaci and another of the accused, Kosovo politician Kadri Veseli, have sought to “obstruct and undermine” the SPO’s work “in an attempt to ensure that they do not face justice”.

This indictment came just three days before the Kosovo President was due to arrive at the White House for a special summit with Serbia.

The announcement of the 10-count indictment threw the summit into disarray. Thaci, who had already left Kosovo en route to the United States, planned to turn around and return home, his office said. U.S. special envoy Richard Grenell said that the talks would continue anyway, with Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti leading the delegation from Pristina.

Grenell said in a tweet, “I respect his decision not to attend the discussions until the legal issues of those allegations are settled,” Grenell said, adding talks will now go ahead with Kosovo’s new Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, who has moved to ease friction with Serbia”.

Meanwhile, Allegations of organ-trafficking against the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the rebel movement that Mr Thaci led were first set out by a former Hague war crimes prosecutor, Carla del Ponte in 2008. The EU-backed court was set up to investigate the claims.

Thaci who has been confronted many times in the past regarding allegations of war crimes but has always denied any wrongdoing saying they were “baseless allegations”

Mr Thaci has been in power in Kosovo since the end of the war, most recently as president of Kosovo.

The independence war in 1998-1999 cost more than 10,000 lives and only ended after a Nato air campaign.

Kosovo declared its independence in 2008, something Serbia still does not recognise.

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