Lawyers for Kosovo suspects: Trial can't start before 2022
(Jerry Lampen via AP Photo, Pool)THE HAGUE – Defense lawyers for former leaders of Kosovo guerrillas, including ex-president Hashim Thaci, said Wednesday that their trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity cannot begin before the summer of 2022 at the earliest. A prosecution lawyer told the hearing at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers that the trial could start in the summer of 2021. Thaci's lawyer, David Hooper, responded that “a minimum of 18 months is necessary before we would be, I think, even contemplating being trial ready. That lack of organization, he said, means that the suspects cannot be held responsible as commanders for crimes committed by individual fighters. Most who died in the Kosovo war were ethnic Albanians and 1,641 people remain unaccounted for.
Ex-Kosovo leader Thaci denies charges at Hague-based court
Hashim Thaci, who resigned as Kosovo's president to face charges including murder, torture and persecution, makes his first courtroom appearance before a judge at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers court in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. Thaci, 52, served as a guerrilla leader during Kosovo’s war for independence from Serbia in the late 1990s, before rising to political prominence in the aftermath of the conflict that killed more than 10,000 people. Thaci stood down as Kosovo’s president last week before being flown to the court’s detention unit. Most of the people who died in the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo were ethnic Albanians, and 1,641 people are still unaccounted for. Ties between Kosovo and Serbia remain tense, despite nine years of negotiations mediated by the European Union and supported by the United States.
Ex-Kosovo president Hashim Thaci to appear in court Monday
Kosovo president Hashim Thaci addresses the nation as he announced his resignation to face war crimes charges in Kosovo capital Pristina on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. Thaci, a guerrilla leader during Kosovos war for independence, has resigned in order to face charges for war crimes and crimes against humanity issued by at a special court based in The Hague, Netherlands. Thaci announced his resignation at a news conference on Thursday. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)THE HAGUE – Hashim Thaci, who resigned as Kosovo's president to face charges including murder, torture and persecution, will make his first courtroom appearance before a judge at a special court in the Netherlands on Monday, the court announced Friday. Thaci stood down as Kosovo's president on Thursday before being flown to the court's detention unit.
Kosovo's president resigns to face war crimes charges
Kosovo president Hashim Thaci addresses the nation as he announced his resignation to face war crimes charges in Kosovo capital Pristina on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. Thaci, a guerrilla leader during Kosovos war for independence, has resigned in order to face charges for war crimes and crimes against humanity issued by at a special court based in The Hague, Netherlands. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)PRISTINA – The president of Kosovo, who served as a guerrilla leader during Kosovo's war for independence from Serbia in the late 1990s, resigned Thursday and was sent to a special court in The Hague where he will face charges for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The indictment charges Thaci alongside Kadri Veseli, Rexhep Selimi and Jakup Krasniqi. After the war, Thaci created the Democratic Party of Kosovo and has been foreign minister, deputy prime minister and prime minister, and now president since April 2016.
EU police arrest Kosovo war veterans' leader, raid offices
Hysni Gucati, the head of the War Veterans Organization of the Kosovo Liberation Army is escorted by European Union security police officers, from the offices of a war veterans association in Kosovo, in Pristina, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. Witnesses say European Union security police have stormed the offices of a war veterans association in Kosovo. Hysni Gucati was arrested following an arrest warrant and transfer order by a pre-trial judge, according to a statement from the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office at the Hague-based Kosovo Specialist Chambers. Earlier this week, the war veterans group said that for the third time in two months an unknown person had provided war crime files from The Hague investigation. He resigned as prime minister last year when the Kosovo Specialist Chambers called him in for questioning.
1st Kosovar Albanian arrested on war crimes charges
A special international court said Thursday that a former commander of the separatist fighters in Kosovo's 1998-1999 war has been arrested as part of a war crimes and crimes against humanity probe stemming from the conflict with Serbia. Mustafa is charged with the war crimes of arbitrary detention, cruel treatment, torture of at least six people and the murder of one person at a detention compound in Zllash, Kosovo, in April 1999. The Kosovo Specialist Chambers and an attached Special Prosecutor's Office, or SPO, was established five years ago to look into allegations that KLA members committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. Both men have denied committing any war crimes. The 1998-1999 war for Kosovo’s independence from Serbia left more than 10,000 people dead — most of them ethnic Albanians from Kosovo.
Kosovo awards Trump with Order of Freedom for peace efforts
A photo of the Order of Freedom awarded to the U.S President Donald Trump, undersigned by Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci in capital Pristina, Kosovo on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. Kosovo's president awarded U.S. President Donald Trump with one of the country's highest medals - Kosovo's Order of Freedom - for his government's efforts on peace and reconciliation in the former war-torn region. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)PRISTINA – Kosovo's awarded U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday with one of the country's highest honors for his government's efforts on peace and reconciliation in the former war-torn region. President Hashim Thaci awarded Trump with Kosovo's Order of Freedom “for his exceptional contribution for the freedom of Kosovo and the strengthening of Peace and reconciliation in the region.”The honor is given to local and foreign citizens for their high contribution in defending Kosovo’s freedom. In a letter sent to Trump, Thaci said that the Kosovo-Serbia deal can be achieved “only under the powerful leadership of the United States of America.
Kosovo, Serbia normalize economic ties, gesture to Israel
WASHINGTON Serbia and Kosovo announced Friday that they have normalized economic ties as part of U.S.-brokered discussions that also include Belgrade moving its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem and Pristina recognizing Israel. The Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as Israels capital in late 2017 and moved the U.S. embassy there in May 2018. Kosovo, a predominantly Muslim country, has never before recognized Israel nor has Israel recognized Kosovo. Most recently, the administration brokered a deal for Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalize relations. Additional Arab states, including Sudan, Bahrain and Oman, have been identified as countries that may soon also normalize relations with Israel.
Leaders of Kosovo, Serbia at White House for economic talks
WASHINGTON The U.S. mediated talks Thursday between Serbia and Kosovo in hopes of normalizing economic relations and possibly paving the way toward resolving thorny political disputes. Trumps envoy Richard Grenell denied that the U.S. confronted the Serbian president with a demand to recognize Kosovo. The people of Kosovo and Serbia deserve economic normalization and the chance to create a vibrant economy, Grenell tweeted before the talks got underway. According to the administration officials, business leaders in both nations are frustrated and have been talking among themselves outside of political talks brokered by the European Union. The White House summit was originally scheduled for June, but it was cancelled after Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, who was to lead the Kosovo delegation, was indicted for war crimes by an international court.
Kosovo’s Thaci strongly denies committing any war crimes
Kosovo president Hashim Thaci speaks during a televised address to the nation, in Pristina, Kosovo, Monday, June 29, 2020. Kosovos president on Monday denied committing war crimes during and after a 1998-1999 armed conflict between ethnic Albanian separatists and Serbia and said he would resign if the indictment is confirmed by an international war crimes court. (AP Photo/Astrit Ibrahimi)
A look at Serbia-Kosovo dispute as war crimes charges filed
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and nine other former separatist fighters were indicted Wednesday on a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes charges, including murder, by an international court investigating their actions against ethnic Serbs and others during and after Kosovo's 1998-99 independence war with Serbia. (AP Photo/Zenel Zhinipotoku)BELGRADE An international prosecutor has indicted Kosovo's president and nine other former rebel fighters with war crimes and crimes against humanity during and after a 1998-99 armed conflict between the ethnic Albanian separatists and Serbia. The nation of 1.8 million is predominantly ethnic Albanian and includes ethnic Serb, Roma and smaller minority groups. Thousands of Serb civilians also fled with the Serbian army and police. HAVE THERE BEEN WAR CRIMES TRIALS BEFORE?