Now Hague’s action has taken a step back. Thesis told reporters in the Kosovo capital, Pristina, that the charges against him had been confirmed after a review by a pretrial judge in The Hague’s special chamber. Allegations of being a commander in the Kosovo Liberation Army, which fought for independence from Serbia in 1998, remain to this day.
Thaki said he was stepping down “to protect the integrity of Kosovo’s president” and planned to face charges not as a leader but as a citizen. The head of Kosovo’s parliament, Vijosa Usmani, has taken over the presidency, leaving the election of a new leader.
A court spokesman declined to comment. The allegation has not been formally published, but it did issue a brief statement in June outlining the range of costs. It said the victims were Kosovo Albanians, Serbs, Romas and other ethnic groups and some of them were political opponents.
Thaki has been president since 2016. He has been a dominant figure in Kosovo’s political life for decades, first as a separatist military leader and then as a politician who once gained independence from Serbia in the region. He was Kosovo’s prime minister when he declared independence in 2008.
Other senior Kosovo Liberation Army officials, many of whom are active in Kosovo political life, also face charges. Kadiri Veselli, Tiki’s successor as leader of Kosovo’s Democratic Party, said on Thursday that he was resigning and traveling to The Hague immediately to face charges, which he said had been confirmed by a former judge. Kosovo media reported that Vegli, Thaki and other officials were on their way to The Hague at Pristina Airport on Thursday.
“I see it as an opportunity to finally answer these false suspicions and rumors that have been circulating for years.” Veselli said in a statement.
On Wednesday, another former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Jakup Krasniki, was arrested in Pristina and transferred to The Hague to face war crimes charges. Krasniki is a former speaker of parliament.
The special chamber in The Hague operates with international judges and lawyers but operates under Kosovo law.
The 1998-1999 war in Kosovo between Yugoslav forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army ended one after another. 78-day NATO air campaign. That led to Kosovo’s declaration of independence nine years later. Serbia has never recognized the state of Kosovo, and unresolved borders have since prevented complete stability in the Balkans. European officials say Serbia needs to resolve the conflict before it can join the European Union.
The European Commission “welcomes” the decision to hand over the court proceedings, said Peter Stano, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, in a statement. “Full cooperation with these institutions is required as an important demonstration of Kosovo’s commitment to the rule of law.”
Thesis has been negotiating for years with Vusik, who is on the other side of the Kosovo war, as a minister in the Federal Republic of Yukoslavia to normalize relations between Pristina and Belgrade. But the two sides could not agree on what to do about the pockets of ethnic Serbs in Albanian-speaking communities in Kosovo and Serbia.
Trump defamed Richard Grenell, a former ambassador to Germany and acting national intelligence director, as an ambassador trying to resolve the conflict.
Trump finally met with Vusic and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Abdullah Hoti at the White House in September, where both sides made the announcement. Agreement to strengthen their economic ties. But full, final mutual recognition has remained out of reach.
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