Kosovo’s President To Address War Crimes Charges In Address To Nation

PRISTINA — Kosovar President Hashim Thaci plans to address the nation on June 29 about the war-crimes charges filed against him, including crimes against humanity, stemming from Kosovo’s war of independence in 1998-99.

A special prosecutor’s office in The Hague on June 24 announced the indictment alleging 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 including political opponents.”

Thaci commanded guerrilla forces under the banner of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) during the conflict.

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.

Veseli has proclaimed his innocence, while Thaci said on Instagram on June 26 that “nobody can rewrite the history of Kosovo.”

He posted a photo of himself seated between his parents “in the homeland” on June 28.

After the indictment was announced, a planned meeting between the Kosovar president and his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic, at the White House was postponed. The meeting, which had been scheduled to take place on June 27, was aimed at kickstarting suspended talks on normalizing relations between the two neighbors.

Kosovo 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 the 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 co-host a summit with the Kosovar and Serbian leaders in Paris.