Kosovo leader cancels US diplomatic trip after war crimes indictment
Kosovo leader Hashim Thaci, who has been recently indicted for war crimes by an international court in The Hague notified the White House that he will not attend diplomatic talks sponsored by US President Donald Trump between Serbia and Kosovo in the US
The June 27 talks will focus primarly on economic issues. The US initiative has split the Kosovo Albanians, with Thaci and the DPK-led government eager to take part, but with former PM Albin Kurti objecting and accusing the US of being in favor of Serbia.
Ambassador Richard Grenell, Trump’s special envoy for Kosovo-Serbia talks, confirmed on Wednesday.
Kosovo ‘Prime Minister’ Avdullah Hoti instead confirm his partecipation to the talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Grenell tweeted later.
On Wednesday, the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) in The Hague issued a statement announcing that Thaci and several other Kosovo Albanian politicians have been charged in a ten-count indictment for “a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture.”
The tribunal named Thaci and Kadri Veseli – current head of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (DPK), which delegated Hoti as defendants in cases that involve “nearly 100 murders” and “hundreds of known victims of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities and include political opponents.”
Both Thaci and Veseli were among the founders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), an ethnic Albanian insurgency that received NATO backing in 1999, during the alliance’s war against Serbia.
The indictments refer to events that alleggedly occurred both during and after the conflict.
UN Security Council Resolution 1244 issued after the armistice between the two parts handed Kosovo over to NATO peacekeepers and recognized Serbian sovereignty over the province. In 2008, the Kosovo Albanians declared independence and were recognized by the US and some of its allies, although half the UN members (including Russia, China, several EU member states) have so far refused to follow suit.