Kosovo’s war veterans demonstrate to defend President ThaciEuropost
Veterans of the Kosovo Liberation army (KLA), which fought for the independence from Serbia, gathered at a main square in the capital of Pristina and other cities on Thursday to denounce the indictment of President Hashim Thaci on war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during and after a 1998-1999-armed conflict.
A prosecutor of an international court set up in The Hague but applying Kosovo laws issued the indictment, which alleges Thaci and other former KLA members are criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders of Serbs, Roma and Kosovo Albanian political opponents during and after the war with Serbia. The indictment also includes charges of forced disappearances, persecution and torture.
“Such acts from this court do not positively impact the reconciliation in the Western Balkans,” the head of a war veterans’ organization, Hysni Gucati, said.
Thaci, a former KLA commander, denies any responsibility for alleged war crimes but said Wednesday he would go to The Hague on Monday to be questioned by prosecutors. He also confirmed that if the indictment stands, he will immediately resign.
The fighting in Kosovo left more than 10,000 dead, most of them ethnic Albanians. It ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign in 1999 that forced Serbian troops to leave Kosovo. Pristina declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a move Belgrade refuses to recognize.
Kosovo PM Avdullah Hoti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic are scheduled to meet on Sunday in Brussels for EU-supervised talks, the first negotiations to normalize relations between the two countries in 20 months.