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Friday, April 23, 2021

Kosovo president resigns, to face trial for war crimes

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President Hashim Thaci of Kosovo resigned Thursday to face trial in a war crimes court in The Hague.

The 52-year-old said he would step down to appear before the court after it confirmed an indictment against him dating back to the 1990s conflict with Serbia, when he was political chief of Kosovo’s rebel army.

He has long insisted on his innocence in a war that most people in Kosovo, which is home mainly to ethnic Albanians, consider a “just” struggle for their independence from Serbian oppression.

In June, prosecutors accused him of ten counts of crimes including charges of murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture.

Thaci did not say which specific charges had been confirmed, while the prosecutors declined to comment.

Set up with EU-backing in 2015, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers operates under Kosovo law but is based in The Hague to protect witnesses from intimidation in a society where many former rebel commanders still dominate politics.

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