in

Kosovo’s Thaci To Address War Crimes Charges On June 29

PRISTINA — Kosovar President Hashim Thaci plans to address the nation on June 29 about the war-crimes charges laid against him.

Thaci initially pledged to make his speech on June 28, but his office said the event was delayed until the next day.

A special prosecutor’s office in The Hague on June 24 announced indictments for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity against Thaci and other Kosovars.

The charges date back to alleged activities during or after Kosovo’s war of independence in 1998-99, when Thaci commanded guerrilla forces under the banner of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK).

A pretrial judge at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague has until October to determine whether there is sufficient evidence for a trial based on the 10-count indictment, according to the statement from the Special Prosecutor’s Office.

It alleges that Thaci and another senior Kosovar politician, Kadri Veseli, are among those “criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders” and other wrongdoing involving “hundreds of known victims of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities and include political opponents.”

Veseli has proclaimed his innocence, while Thaci posted on social media on June 26 saying that “nobody can rewrite the history of Kosovo.”

Kosovo’s president has canceled his planned meeting with his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic, at the White House on June 27 aimed at kickstarting suspended talks on normalizing relations between the two neighbors.

Serbia’s former province declared independence in 2008 and is recognized by more than 110 countries, but not by Belgrade.

On June 27, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said his government remains “committed” to the normalization process with Serbia.

Speaking to reporters after his return from Brussels, Hoti said he and U.S. special presidential envoy Richard Grenell had agreed on “another date which will be soon” for the continuation of negotiations.

Meanwhile, France and Germany have indicated their willingness to cohost a summit with the Kosovar and Serbian leaders in Paris.

On June 25, the French Embassy in Pristina tweeted that “France and Germany expect Dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia to resume soon. Together with [German] Chancellor [Angela] Merkel, [French] President [Emmanuel] Macron remains ready to host a Summit in Paris.”

German Ambassador to Kosovo Christian Heldt the same day tweeted: “We fully support efforts with [EU Special Representative for the Serbia-Kosovo Dialogue] Miroslav Lajcak to achieve substantial progress in tangible time frame for comprehensive settlement.”

“Our governments stand ready to be helpful with proposed meeting in July,” Heldt added.

Reference