News Kosovo President Hashim Thaci resigns to face war crimes trial

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci resigns to face war crimes trial

Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci is resigning to face a war crimes trial. Photo: AP
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Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has resigned with immediate effect after learning that the Kosovo war crimes tribunal had confirmed his indictment for war crimes.

“I resign today from the position of president,” Mr Thaci told a news conference in the Kosovo capital Pristina on Thursday, adding that his sources had informed him that the judge at the Kosovo Specialist Chamber in The Hague had confirmed his indictment.

“He will not allow me to appear before the court as president, therefore, in order to protect the integrity of the state, I resign today,” Mr Thaci said.

He said that the head of Kosovo parliament will be acting president until a new one is elected.

In July, Mr Thaci, who is 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 Mr 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.