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Kosovo's President Accuses International Community Of Failing To Keep Promises On War Crimes Court

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci (file photo)
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci (file photo)

The president of Kosovo has accused the international community of failing to keep the promises made to the country in exchange for setting up a Netherlands-based war crimes tribunal.

Hashim Thaci said on October 9 that he agreed to lead "an unfair historical process for Kosovo despite opposition from the public, political, and civil opinion to this court, in order to protect the strategic partnership with U.S., EU, and NATO."

International officials promised to fast-track Kosovo for European Union and UNESCO membership, as well as visa liberalization and the establishment of a Kosovo military if officials in Pristina established the institution, which was inaugurated in The Hague last year.

"Kosovo has kept its word. The international community has not," he said.

The court, which has yet to process any cases, comprises 19 international judges from European Union member countries, the United States, and Canada, with jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other crimes committed under Kosovo law that are alleged to have taken place between 1998-2000.

An estimated 10,800 Kosovar Albanians and some 2,200 Serbs were either killed or disappeared in the war.

Kosovo in 2008 declared independence from Serbia and has since been recognized by more than 110 countries worldwide, although not by Serbia or Russia.

The court has had "maximal and bilateral cooperation with Serbia" but "minimal, symbolic, and unilateral" cooperation with Kosovo, Thaci said.

"Authorities in Belgrade claim they know who is to be charged and what the charges will be for Kosovo Albanians," Thaci said, adding that "the Serbs fully believe they are correctly informed no Serb will be charged."

Thaci deplored that the court was not going to consider any of the "400 massacres" or any of the more than 20,000 alleged rape cases of Albanian women by members of the Serbian forces.

With reporting by AFP and AP