Kosovo President Thaci faces war crimes indictment

(BBC) – Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has been accused of war crimes by a special international prosecutor in The Hague.

Mr Thaci and others “are criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders”, torture and enforced disappearances, the prosecutor said.

The accusations – covering Kosovo’s independence war against Serbia – are being assessed by a judge at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers who will decide if the case goes to trial.

Mr Thaci has denied any wrongdoing.

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”.

A pre-trial judge now has six months to decide if the court will issue charges.

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.

Kosovo’s government has angrily denied the allegations, calling them “baseless and defamatory” ahead of the publication of a report in 2010.

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.

Mr Thaci was due to travel to Washington DC for planned talks with Serbia’s leadership in the White House on Saturday.

He has now cancelled the trip.

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