President of Kosovo, nine former fighters charged with war crimes

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PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) – The President of Kosovo and nine other former separatist fighters were charged with a series of crimes against humanity and allegations of war crimes, including murder, by a court investigating crimes against ethnic Serbs during and after Kosovo’s war of independence. in 1998-99 with Serbia.

A statement by a prosecutor of the Kosovar specialized chambers delivered on Wednesday said President Hashim Thaci and the other suspects are “criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders”, involving hundreds of known Kosovar Albanian, Serbian and Roma victims, as well as political opponents.

Other charges include enforced disappearance, prosecution and torture. Thaci commanded hunters in the Kosovo Liberation Army or KLA during the war.

The President’s advisors did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.

The indicted group also includes Kadri Veseli, former Speaker of Parliament and leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Kosovo.

The indictment, which was issued on Wednesday, was the first by the special court in The Hague. The court has operated since 2015 and has questioned hundreds of witnesses. Last year, the Prime Minister of Kosovo resigned before being questioned.

The charges are being reviewed by a pretrial judge who will decide whether to charge the charges, the statement said.

The prosecution has filed the charges after a lengthy investigation and it reflects its “determination that it can prove all allegations without reasonable doubt,” the statement said.

The prosecutor also accused Thaci and Veseli of repeated attempts to “hinder and undermine the work” of the tribunal.

“Thaci and Veseli are said to have run a secret campaign to overturn the law establishing the Court and otherwise impede the work of the Court in an effort to ensure that they do not receive justice,” the statement said.

“By taking these actions, Mr Thaci and Mr Veseli have put their personal interests above the victims of their crimes, the rule of law and all people in Kosovo,” it added.

More than 10,000 people were killed in the 1998-1999 war, and 1,641 are still missing. It ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign.

Serbia does not recognize the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence.

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Semini reported from Tirana, Albania.

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