Zagreb, 6 November 2020 (Hina/MIA) – Former Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, who resigned on Thursday and said he would go to The Hague to face war crimes charges, was arrested and transferred to the detention center of the Kosovo Tribunal in The Hague, the Netherlands, on Thursday, Reuters reported.
Thaci resigned after learning that the tribunal had confirmed a war crimes indictment against him.
Thaci and three other former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) are accused of a number of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the 1998-99 war of independence in which they fought against Serb forces under late Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic. The indictment includes charges such as murder, abduction, persecution and torture.
The Kosovo tribunal was set up in 2015 to handle cases relating to the war that led to Kosovo’s independence from Serbia a decade later in 2008. The court is governed by Kosovo law but staffed by international judges and prosecutors.
Thaci has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. He told a news conference in the Kosovo capital Pristina on Thursday that he felt his resignation was necessary “to protect the integrity of the state”.
Thaci was elected Kosovo’s first prime minister in 2008 and he has been president since 2016. Until a new president is elected, his duties will be performed by Parliament Speaker Vjosa Osmani.
Many in Kosovo oppose the war crimes court and see the KLA commanders as heroes.
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International said the indictment against Thaci gave hope to thousands of victims of the war “who have waited for more than two decades to find out the truth about the horrific crimes.”
Another three Kosovo politicians and former KLA members – Rexhep Selimi, a deputy in the Kosovo parliament, Kadri Veseli, the president of Thaci’s Kosovo Democratic Party, and veteran Kosovo politician Jakup Krasniqi – were transferred to The Hague on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity on Wednesday and Thursday.