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Kosovo leader resigns over war crimes charges

President Hashim Thaçi in Pristina, Kosovo, on Thursday Associated Press/Photo by Visar Kryeziu

Kosovo leader resigns over war crimes charges

President Hashim Thaçi on Thursday confirmed he was stepping down to protect the integrity of the executive office. Thaçi served as a senior leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) guerrilla group during the battle for independence from Serbia in the 1990s. He appointed Kosovo’s parliamentary leader, Vjosa Osmani, to serve as interim president until a new election takes place.

What is he accused of? Back in June, a specialist prosecutor’s office announced that Thaçi and nine others were “criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders.” The office also accused him and former parliament speaker Kadri Veseli of trying to undermine the work of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, a court in The Hague, Netherlands. Thaçi has maintained his innocence. He became president in 2016 and has pushed for normalized ties with Serbia, which still denies Kosovo’s independence.

Dig deeper: Read Mindy Belz’s report on the recent economic cooperation deal between Serbia and Kosovo.

Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD’s Africa reporter and deputy global desk chief. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University–Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria.


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