More Details Revealed about Hashim Thaci’s Upcoming War Crimes Court Case
The long-anticipated case with the former Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi is to begin in early April at the Kosovo Specialists Chambers court in the Hague. Along with his three former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) fighters, Thaçi is facing trial on war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Thaçi, the first Prime Minister of independent Kosovo who, resigned from his office as President in 2020 after the charges leading to the current trial were brought against him. As the beginning of the trial is nearing after the pre-trial phase was closed last November, more details are coming up regarding the charges.
The alleged crimes were executed roughly between March 1998 and September 1999, with all four men who have been detained since November 2020 rejecting the accusations. The prosecutors have now partially published a huge amount of evidence, including the names of some victims of the supposed crimes linked to Thaçi.
Although the four men are not accused of being directly responsible for some of the crimes, the prosecutors claim that they bear criminal responsibility due to their high command positions in KLA for almost 100 murders.
The gathered files state that the accused men “by means including unlawfully intimidating, mistreating, committing violence against, and removing those deemed to be opponents” tried to establish control over Kosovo and break free from Yugoslavia.
On multiple events, the four men were allegedly arresting, detaining, interrogating, beating, and in some cases even executing predominantly ethnic Serbs, but also ethnic Albanians who did not actively support KLA.
The published information hints that evidence from specific mass graves as well as cases of forced disappearances will also come up during the trial. Despite having their seat in the Hague and being composed of international judges, the Specialist Chambers form a part of the Kosovar judicial system.
The Kosovar parliament established the Chambers in 2015 in response to pressure from its Western allies, who were doubting whether the Kosovar justice system was capable of handling cases related to KLA while safeguarding witnesses from intimidation.
What comes as no surprise is that in Kosovo, this so-called “Special Court” is deemed to be unfairly targeting former KLA members rather than the Serbian perpetrators of the majority of the war crimes from the years 1998 and 1999 that took place in Kosovo.