Specialist Prosecutor’s Office in the Hague announces indictments for war crimes against Thaçi and Veseli

Hashim Thaçi; Photo: GLOBSEC 2019

THE HAGUE – In today’s press release, Specialist Prosecutor’s Office in the Hague announced that it had filed indictments against the President of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi and the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo Kadri Veseli, among others, two months ago. The public announcement comes due to the fact that Thaçi and Veseli are trying to overturn the law establishing the court, the press release reads.

According to the press release, on 24 April 2020 the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) filed a ten-count Indictment with the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) for the Court’s consideration, charging Hashim Thaçi, Kadri Veseli, and others with a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture. The Indictment alleges that Hashim Thaçi, Kadri Veseli, and the other charged suspects are criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders.

The crimes alleged in the Indictment involve hundreds of known victims of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities and include political opponents, the press release reads, stressing that the Indictment is only an accusation.

“It is the result of a lengthy investigation and reflects the SPO’s determination that it can prove all of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. A KSC Pre-Trial Judge is currently reviewing the Indictment to decide on whether to confirm the charges”, it is stated.

The Specialist Prosecutor has deemed it necessary to issue this public notice of charges because of repeated efforts by Hashim Thaçi and Kadri Veseli to obstruct and undermine the work of the KSC.

“Mr Thaçi and Mr Veseli are believed to have carried out a secret campaign to overturn the law creating the Court and otherwise obstruct the work of the Court in an attempt to ensure that they do not face justice. By taking these actions, Mr Thaçi and Mr Veseli have put their personal interests ahead of the victims of their crimes, the rule of law, and all people of Kosovo”, the press release concludes.

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office were established pursuant to an international agreement ratified by the Kosovo Assembly, a Constitutional Amendment and the Law on Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office.

They are of temporary nature with a specific mandate and jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, war crimes and other crimes under Kosovo law, which were commenced or committed in Kosovo between 1 January 1998 and 31 December 2000 by or against citizens of Kosovo or the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Hashim Thaçi is due to meet with the his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vučić in Washington this Saturday to discuss modalities to improve economic relations with Special Representative of the President Donald Trump, Richard Grenell.