On Thursday, the president of Kosovo made a substantial announcement that he resigned after he faces war crimes.
A President Resigned
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci declared during a press conference in the capital that he is resigning to “protect the integrity of the presidency,” the Associated Press reported.
He is facing charges stemming from his time as a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army which was during the war for independence from the nation of Serbia.
Five months before Thaci resigned, nine other leaders relating to the former ethnic Albanian rebel group were indicted. The indictment came from a special Kosovo court and the charges range from murder, torture, kidnapping and persecution.
Charges Stem From a 1998 War
However, these charges are from the war that occurred from 1998 to 1999 and saw more than 10,000 fatalities.
According to a prosecutor’s office located in the Netherlands, they say the men were “criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders.” The indictment first came in June but no more details of the allegations brought against the leaders have been released.
Forbes reports on the background of the incident:
The special court and prosecutor’s office were established in 2015 in response to a 2011 report from the human rights organization, Council of Europe, which detailed war crime and crimes against humanity allegations against members of the Kosovo Liberation Army. In June, the prosecutor’s office claimed Thaci repeatedly attempted to “obstruct and undermine” the court, including alleging he tried to overturn the law that allowed the court to be established.
Former President Claiming His Innocence
Even though Thaci resigned, he stands firm in saying he did not commit any crimes. A government spokesperson also has told the people to remember that defendants should be looked at as innocent until proven guilty.
Since the resignation, parliament speaker Vjosa Osmani has assumed presidential responsibilities. Thaci was elected in February 2016 and was supposed to be in office until what would have been the end of his term in April.