Kosovo President: “I will resign if indictment is confirmed”

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 30, 2020 10:49

Kosovo President: “I will resign if indictment is confirmed”

TIRANA, June 29 - Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi announced that he would resign his office if the war crimes indictment against him is confirmed.

“If the indictment is confirmed, I will immediately resign as your President and face the charges. Kosovo is a new state, but its leaders must behave like real statesmen. I will bear this burden and defend myself, our fight for freedom, with all the strength I have,” Thaçi declared.

The President made his first public statement on Monday, days after the Special Prosecutor Office in The Hague announced a ten-court indictment against him and the chairman of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, Kadri Veseli, on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

During his public speech from his office in Pristina, President Thaçi denied allegations and stated that there is no evidence against him, adding that the only law he has violated "is that of (Slobodan) Milosevic. "

Thaçi spoke of the implosion of the planned summit in Washington, casting doubt whether "it was a coincidence or an intrigue" that the indictment was announced right when he was on his way to Washtingon D.C.

He added that in the practice of justice in the civilized world, the public announcement of an indictment not yet approved by the judiciary is a "major scandal" and that “no alleged or even committed crime by anyone justifies public lynching. No good intentions and no great will for justice justify the fabrication of a media bomb to incriminate the head of state of Kosovo, precisely at the moment when the dialogue with Serbia had entered a new phase thanks to the direct engagement of the [White] House."

President Thaçi stressed that the announcement "made the very important meeting in the White House impossible, giving a massive blow to the possibility of achieving peace between Kosovo and Serbia."

Referring to the Special Prosecutor Office's accusations that him and Veseli "have carried out a secret campaign to overturn the law creating the Court and otherwise obstruct the work of the Court", Thaçi rejected the claims, recalling that it was he himself who had supported the establishment of the Special Court.

"Today, whoever says that I have become an obstacle, even a saboteur of this Court, in the best case is misinformed and in the worst case is biased," said President Thaçi, emphasizing that the international community is not following the same standards between Kosovo and Serbia in dealing with war crimes.

"Unfortunately, not only do I not see this standard of proportionality, but I see the opposite. And here we are today. Serbia is on the path to negotiations for European membership, while Kosovo does not enjoy the right to free movement," he said.

President Thaçi said that Kosovo must ensure the stable functioning of state institutions, in any circumstance, while warning that “in the coming days it will be consulted with political leaders on further steps."

“Kosovo is the homeland of all its citizens, a European country and a multi-ethnic society. Once again, I say no to revenge and yes to inter-ethnic tolerance. Only by building democracy do we build a Euro-Atlantic future,” he concluded.

Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci has been indicted on war crimes and crimes against humanity charges, by a special international prosecutor in The Hague, only three days before the special summit with Serbia was due to take place at the White House.

According to a statement released by the Specialist Prosecutor's Office (SPO), the latter has "filed a ten-count Indictment with the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) for the Court's consideration, charging Hashim Thaci, Kadri Veseli, and others with a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture." Based on the indictment filed on April 24, President Thaçi, Kosovo DP leader Kadri Veseli and the others are responsible for nearly 100 murders, involving victims of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities in addition to including political opponents.

President Thaci cancelled his trip to Washington shortly after the Special Prosecution Office's announcement, followed by Kosovo's Prime Minister Adullah Hoti a day later.

However, U.S. President Trump's special envoy Richard Grenell later confirmed Hoti's decision and stated that the meeting could be postponed into a later date.

Prior to the cancellation, the special summit for the normalization of Kosovo-Serbia talks was expected to take place at the White House on Saturday, with Thaci and Hoti's presence as Kosovo's representatives and President Aleksandar Vucic as Serbia's representative. 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 30, 2020 10:49