İrem UZUN -TDO- Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has resigned from office to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at a special court in The Hague. After the Kosovo Specialist Chamber (KSC) confirmed an indictment on Thursday against Thaci, the president said at a news conference he is quitting “to protect the integrity of the presidency of Kosovo”. He said that the head of Kosovo parliament will be acting president until a new one is elected.
In July, Thaci, the former senior commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) guerrilla group, met the prosecutors in The Hague to discuss alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during Kosovo's 1998-99 uprising against Serbian rule. Prosecutors hold Thaci responsible for nearly 100 murders of civilians during the war. He denies any wrongdoing.
The Specialist Chamber was set up in The Hague in 2015 to handle cases of alleged crimes by KLA guerrillas during the war that led to Kosovo's independence from Serbia a decade later. The court is governed by Kosovo law but is staffed by international judges and prosecutors.
The court confirmed Thaci’s arrival in The Hague late Thursday and released a redacted version of his indictment, which was initially filed in April and confirmed by a judge on October 26. It describes Thaci and three other former Kosovo Liberation Army commanders who also are now in The Hague to face charges as members of a joint criminal enterprise set up “to gain and exercise control over all of Kosovo by means including unlawfully intimidating, mistreating, committing violence against, and removing those deemed to be opponents” from March 1998 to September 1999.