Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci resigned after an indictment on war crimes by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office was confirmed by the Specialist Chambers Kosovo on Thursday.
“As I promised I will not allow in any circumstances for the president of Kosovo to be before the court, so in order to protect the integrity of the state of Kosovo, people of Kosovo […], today I resign from this position,” Thaci told media during a press conference on Thursday.
Thaci said he feels lucky to be alive and witness “the centuries-old dream” becoming a reality.
He stated he was proud of his activity with the Kosovo Liberation Army by pointing out that “Kosovo was the victim and Serbia was the aggressor”.
Thaci stated that the indictment against him is a small price required to be paid for the freedom of Kosovo and its people.
“This situation is a new opportunity for Kosovo and we want to turn it into an advantage for the future of Kosovo,” Thaci said.
He called on the political parties to put the state’s interests over those personal and party’s.
On April 24, the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) filed a ten-count indictment with the KSC against Kosovo’s president Hashim Thaci and Kadri Veseli. They are indicted for murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture against hundreds of Kosovo Albanians, Serbs, Roma, and other ethnicities.
Thaci, Veseli, and other suspects are alleged to be responsible for nearly 100 murders.
Hashim Thaci was the political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army.
After the liberation, in May 1999 Thaci founded the political wing of KLA, Party for Democratic Progress which later changed its name to Kosovo Democratic Party, PDK.
During his leadership, PDK won elections in 2007, 2010 and 2014, while Thaci served twice as Prime Minister. He also served as deputy prime minister and minister of Foreign Affairs.
In 2016, Hashim Thaci was elected as Kosovo’s President amid violent protests by the opposition, inside and outside the parliament building.
In order to hold the post, Thaci needed to resign from his position as the leader of PDK and was succeeded by Kadri Veseli whose war crimes indictment by The Hague- based court was confirmed this morning.