Kosovo President Hashim Thaci indicted for war crimes

The President of the Republic of Kosovo Hashim Thaci . EPA-EFE/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

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Kosovo’s president and nine other former separatist fighters were indicted on a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes charges, including murder, by a court investigating crimes against ethnic Serbs, Albanians and Roma during and after Kosovo’s 1998-99 independence war with Serbia.

A statement from a prosecutor of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers issued Wednesday said President Hashim Thaci and the others suspects “are criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders” of political opponents and Kosovar Albanian, Serb and Roma victims.

Other charges include enforced disappearance, persecution, and torture. Thaci commanded fighters in the Kosovo Liberation Army, or KLA, during the war.

Before the indictment, Thaci planned to attend a White House meeting with Serbia’s leaders on Saturday aimed at securing a peace agreement between Serbia and Kosovo.

He already has left Kosovo, but it wasn’t clear what the charges may mean for his trip to Washington.

Thaci, 52, was elected president in February 2016 and his term ends next year. He previously served as prime minister, deputy prime minister and foreign minister.

The indicted individuals also include Kadri Veseli, former parliament speaker and leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Kosovo. Thaci resigned as the party’s leader when he became president, leaving the post to Veseli.

The indictment issued Wednesday was the first by the special tribunal based in The Hague. The court has been operating since 2015 and has questioned hundreds of witnesses. Kosovo’s prime minister resigned last year before he was questioned. Veseli also has been questioned, but not Thaci.

Read more via France 24/AP

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