From: Bledar Qalliu
Rama Shows Support for KLA in Visit to Thaçi before Trial

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama paid a visit to former Kosovo president Hashim Thaçi at the prison facilities in The Hague in a first since the latter was placed in custody over charges of war crimes.

After the meeting, Rama emphasized his trust in Thaçi and the righteousness of Kosovo Albanians’ war against Serbia in 1998-1999.

On Tuesday, before the beginning of a pre-trial session against Thaçi and other Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) leaders in The Hague, Rama posted a 25 seconds video showing him walking pensively and entering alone the prison facility. “At The Hague – Paying a visit to President Thaçi,” the tagline read.

A second video showed Rama come out of the same prison facility door, smiling while heading towards the awaiting camera: “It was a necessary catch-up. I found Thaçi in great shape,” he said before noting in a more serious tone:

“I am convinced, perhaps even more so than when I met him before he came here, that it was an inevitable way to prove without a doubt, before the law, the purity of the [Kosovo] liberation war and of course the purity of the ideals of the KLA fighters and leaders.”

Rama added that the history of the Kosovo liberation war cannot be rewritten, nor framed in any other way than a fight which showed the people’s heroism and their sacrifice for a free, democratic and sovereign country.

Kosovo declared independence after a brutal war waged on its people by the genocidal Serbian regime of Slobodan Milosevic in 1998-1999. The KLA’s resistance followed by a NATO bombing operation mainly targeting Serbian military facilities led to Serbian troops withdrawing from the country after numerous massacres, thousands of civilians killed and 90 percent of Kosovo population displaced.

Under pressure by the international community, Kosovo parliament set up a special court in 2016 to try crimes committed during the war after Dick Marty, a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, published a report with such allegations.

The court, composed exclusively of foreign judges and prosecutors, is located in the Netherlands. So far, prosecutors have announced charges only against Kosovo Albanians. Dick Marty is now under Swiss police protection after a Serbian intelligence plot to kill him was revealed by Swiss authorities. Marty says the Serbian government intended to blame his killing on Kosovo in order to stir unrest.

Thaçi and three other KLA leaders who became top politicians later – Kadri Veseli, Jakup Krasniqi, Rexhep Selimi – are facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during 1998-1999 against ethnic minorities and political opponents.

They have denied all charges and are awaiting trial in custody since November 2020. It remains unclear when the trial against them will start.