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Kosovo's President Criticizes International War Crimes Court


President Hashim Thaci stands in front of a banner marking the 10th anniversary of Kosovo's independence during an interview with the Associated Press in Pristina on February 14.

Kosovo's president has called an international war crimes court with jurisdiction over potential Kosovar suspects a "historical injustice" and said the government only reluctantly accepted it as the "price for its liberty."

Hashim Thaci, speaking to the Associated Press on February 14 ahead of the 10th anniversary of Kosovo declaring independence from Serbia, criticized the Netherlands-based court, saying it was akin to establishing a tribunal to judge Jews who were persecuted by the Nazis in World War II.

"Kosovo held a defensive war for its existence as a nation and attacked no one," he said. "We have nothing to hide."

Kosovo's bloody war for independence ended with a 78-day NATO air campaign in June 1999, which curbed a bloody Serbian offensive against ethnic Albanian separatists. The war left 13,000 dead and 20,000 Albanian women raped, according to Thaci.

Under U.S. and European pressure, Kosovo's government agreed in 2015 to set up the Kosovo war crimes court, known as the Special Chambers, to confront allegations that fighters with the Kosovo Liberation Army committed war crimes against ethnic Serbs from 1998 to 2000. The court, located in The Hague, has yet to hear any cases.

U.S Ambassador to Kosovo Greg Delawie said on February 14 the court was meant to provide justice to the victims.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008, and was recognized by 115 countries but not Serbia.

With reporting by AP
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