Hashim Thaci. Photo: Urim Krasniqi/BIRN.

Hashim Thaci resigns as president after being indicted on war crimes charges

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci called for calm and unity after announcing that the indictment filed against him by the Special Prosecution had been confirmed.

In a press conference on Thursday, Hashim Thaci announced that the indictment filed against him by the Specialist Prosecution Office has been confirmed and resigned from his position as president.

“As I promised I will not go before the court as President of Kosovo,” he said. “To defend the integrity of the Kosovo presidency, the state of Kosovo and the people of Kosovo, I resign from the position of Kosovo president.”

Thaci urged for calm, prudence and unity in light of the news. “The indictment against me and my brothers-in-arms is a small price to pay for the freedom of our people,” he said.

The indictment against Thaci was first revealed by the SPO in June, when it announced that it had filed war crimes charges against the former head of the Kosovo Liberation Army’s political wing. 

According to the SPO press release, the indictment contained ten counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including charges of “murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution and torture.” 

Thaci’s announcement followed news earlier on Thursday that Kadri Veseli was stepping back from political duties in order to defend himself from war crimes charges after an indictment from the SPO against him was confirmed. 

On Wednesday, former KLA spokesperson Jakup Krasniqi was arrested in Prishtina by EULEX special units before being transferred to The Hague to face war crimes charges. 

Rexhep Selimi, a former KLA commander and the head of Vetevendosje’s parliamentary group, later announced that an indictment against him had been confirmed and would travel to the Hague to defend himself against the charges. 

Thaci’s resignation leaves the position of president open. According to the Kosovo Constitution, every eligible citizen of the Republic of Kosovo may be nominated as a candidate for President of the Republic of Kosovo, provided he or she presents the signatures of at least 30 MPs sitting at the Assembly of Kosovo. 

Candidates are elected by receiving two thirds of the votes in the Kosovo Assembly. However, if no candidates receive two thirds of the vote in two initial ballots, a third vote between the most voted for candidates is triggered, in which a majority of 61 votes is enough to secure the presidency.

Speaker of the Assembly Vjosa Osmani will serve as acting president until a new president is elected by the Kosovo Assembly.

05/11/2020 - 11:49

05 November 2020 - 11:49

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