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Kosovo's Thaci Says He Committed No Crimes Following Questioning By War-Crimes Prosecutors

Kosovar President Hashim Thaci at The Hague.
Kosovar President Hashim Thaci at The Hague.

Kosovar President Hashim Thaci has finished four days of questioning by international war-crimes prosecutors at The Hague.

As he left the court premises late July 16, Thaci called the four days of interviews “productive sessions.”

“It is now up to the prosecutors and the judge to evaluate without bias my testimony. If they do that with an unbiased professional manner and fairness, they will easily come to the conclusion that I committed no crime,” Thaci said.

He arrived in The Hague on July 13 and is due back in Kosovo.

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers (SPO) announced on June 24 that Thaci and other prominent Kosovars were the subject of an indictment on suspicion of serious crimes including "nearly 100 murders," enforced disappearances, and torture.

Thaci was a top commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), which fought a guerrilla war for independence from Serbia in the 1990s.

A pretrial judge in the SPO has yet to decide whether to put Thaci and the others on trial or throw out the case.

Thaci has told Kosovars that, if he is tried, he will immediately resign and face the accusations.

He has also defended his record, saying that he was proud to have fought for an independent Kosovo.

Kosovo, a former province of Serbia, declared independence in 2008 in a move rejected by Belgrade. Five of the EU’s 27 countries -- Romania, Cyprus, Greece, Slovakia, and Spain -- also don’t recognize Kosovo’s independence, and statehood remains the biggest stumbling block.

Thaci’s indictment forced the cancellation of U.S.-sponsored talks scheduled to take place last month at the White House between Kosovar and Serbian leaders.

But the European Union has since breathed new life into long-stalled EU-sponsored talks.

The questioning of Thaci ended the same day Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti held their first face-to-face talks in 20 months in Brussels aimed at normalizing relations between the two Balkan neighbors.

EU-mediated negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade broke down in 2018 over reports of a proposed land swap and after Kosovo imposed a 100-percent tax on Serbian imports.

Both Kosovo and Serbia, which aspire to join the EU, have been facing mounting pressure from the West to reboot negotiations.

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