Ex-Kosovo guerrilla chief, president Thaci faces war crimes trial on Monday

PRISTINA (HRNW) – Former Kosovo president Hashim Thaci, considered a hero by compatriots for leading the 1998-99 insurgency against Serbian rule that led to independence, will go on trial on Monday for alleged war crimes during the conflict.

A special Kosovo court set up in The Hague indicted Thaci in November 2020 on 10 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity including persecution, murder, torture and enforced disappearance of people among other things during the uprising.

Thaci, 54, resigned as president shortly afterward and was transferred to detention in The Hague. Three of his closest associates, including two former speakers of parliament, face the same charges as ex-Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) guerrillas.

The four are accused of participating in a “joint criminal enterprise … that carried out widespread or systematic attacks” on minority Serb civilians in Kosovo as well as Kosovo Albanian opponents of the KLA. All have denied the charges.