European President To Face War Crimes Court, Steps Down

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Heather Edwards Contributor
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Kosovo President Hashim Thaci resigned after learning today that he has been indicted and will face a special war crimes court in The Hague.

The Kosovo court at The Hague was set up to investigate and prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity in or linked to the Kosovo conflict from 1998-2000, according to the institution’s website.

Thaci’s charges date back to alleged crimes that took place in the conflict with Serbia during his time as Political Chief of Kosovo’s rebel army, according to National News.

BERLIN, GERMANY – APRIL 29: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) and French President Emmanuel Macron (R) greet President of the Republic Kosovo Hasim Thaci (L)

According to National News, Thaci is resigning, in his own words, “to protect the integrity of the office of the president and the country, as well as the dignity of the citizens, I resign from the position of president of the Republic of Kosovo.”

Back in June, prosecutors charged Thaci with murder, enforced disappearance of people, persecution, torture, and six additional unnamed charges. He declined to comment on which charges had been confirmed, although the special prosecutor’s office alleges he and other charged suspects are responsible for “nearly 100 murders.” (RELATED: Rep. Ayanna Pressley Accuses Trump Of ‘War Crimes’ Over Coronavirus Response)

Several other Kosovo politicians have been indicted along with Thaci, including former parliament speaker Kadri Veseli and three former commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

The Special Prosecutor’s Office wrote in their press statement that they were making the indictment public in an effort to frustrate what they claim to be Thaci’s and Veseli’s efforts to obstruct the court’s work, including an attempt to overturn the law that created the court.

The Kosovo conflict, in which ethnic Albanians and ethnic Serbs fought against each other, lasted from 1998-1999.

Kosovo became an independent state in 2008.