And now the Hague Tribunal has taken a step further. Thatchi told reporters in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, that the indictment against him was confirmed after a review by the investigating judge in the special chamber in The Hague. These allegations appear to date back to his time as a commander in the Kosovo Liberation Army when he fought a war of secession from Serbia starting in 1998.
Thatchi said he was stepping down to “protect the integrity of the Kosovo presidency” and that he was planning to face the accusations as a civilian and not as a state leader. Fiosa Osmani, Speaker of the Kosovo Parliament, assumed the office of Acting President while awaiting the election of a new leader.
A spokesman for the court declined to comment. The indictment has not been officially published, but issued a brief statement in June that outlined the scope of the charges. It added that the victims were Kosovar Albanians, Serbs, Roma and other ethnicities, and that some of them were political opponents.
Thaçi has been president since 2016. He has been a prominent figure in Kosovo’s political life for decades, first as a leader of a separatist militia and then as a politician once the region gained autonomy from Serbia. He was the Prime Minister of Kosovo when it declared independence in 2008.
Other senior Kosovo Liberation Army officials, many of them active in Kosovo politics, also face charges. Kadri Veseli, Thachi’s successor as the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, said on Thursday that he resigned from his post and immediately traveled voluntarily to The Hague to face the indictments, which he said had been confirmed by an investigating judge. Kosovo media reported that Vesili, Tachi and other officials were at Pristina airport on Thursday to travel to The Hague.
“I see it as an opportunity to finally respond to these doubts and false rumors that have been circulating for years,” Veseli said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Jacob Krasnicki, another former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army, was arrested in Pristina and transferred to The Hague to face charges of war crimes. Krasnicki is a former speaker of Parliament.
The Special Chamber in The Hague is staffed with international judges and prosecutors but operates under Kosovo law.
The 1998-1999 war in Kosovo between Yugoslav forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army ended after a 78 days of NATO’s air campaign. It led, nine years later, to Kosovo’s declaration of independence. Serbia has never recognized the state of Kosovo, and the unresolved borders have prevented complete stability in the Balkans ever since. European officials said the dispute must be resolved before Serbia can join the European Union.
Peter Stano, spokesman for the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said in a statement that the European Commission “welcomes” Thatchy’s decision to bring the proceedings to the court. “Full cooperation with these institutions is necessary as an important proof of Kosovo’s commitment to the rule of law.”
Thatchi had been negotiating for years with Vucic, who was on the other side of the Kosovo War as a minister in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to normalize relations between Pristina and Belgrade. But the two sides were unable to agree on what to do about the ethnic Serb enclaves in Kosovo and the Albanian-speaking communities inside Serbia.
Trump has appointed Richard Grenell, a former ambassador to Germany and acting director of national intelligence, as the envoy to try to resolve the conflict.
Trump eventually met in September with Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Avdallah Hoti at the White House, where both sides announced An agreement to strengthen economic relations between them. But full and final mutual recognition remained elusive.