Saturday, October 22, 2016

Thaci: Albania 'Obliged' to Speak out on Kosovo

In an interview with BIRN, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci backs the controversial new war crimes court - and says Albanian leaders have every right to speak out on the subject of Kosovo.

Jeta Xharra

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci. Photo: BIRN.

Since taking up office as Kosovo's head of state in February, President Hashim Thaci seems to have moved away from the limelight.

In government as Prime Minister, Thaci supported the establishment of the Specialist Chambers in the Hague, a new court that will deal with war crimes committed in Kosovo during 1998-2000.

Thaci was one of a number of leading political figures in Kosovo accused of war crimes, including organ harvesting, in a 2011 report by the Council of Europe.

But Thaci says he still backs the court. “We should see the formation of the Special Tribunal [the Specialist Cambers] as a way of clearing, or getting rid of the allegations, of the things that have been mentioned in reports of the Council of Europe,” Thaci said on Thursday.

“I’ve led the process of establishing this court and everyone should be equal before the law,” Thaci said, when asked whether he believed he himself might be indicted.

A former foreign minister, Thaci also discussed the recent backlash in Kosovo against Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama after he publicly discussed Kosovo's affairs in Belgrade, Serbia.

Thaci said Rama had every right to speak out. “It was a responsible, correct and just declaration about Trepca [the disputed mining complex in northern Kosovo].

"The same goes for recognitions [of Kosovo's independence] and what he said about [Nehat] Thaci,” Thaci said, referring to the Kosovo police director detained in Serbia on charges of organized crime since September 29.

“Albania is obliged to deal [with Kosovo] and make statements on issues that are important,” he added.

Days after the Kosovo government passed a law on the Trepca mining complex, a decision that the Serbian government has condemned, Rama defended Kosovo’s independence and the Kosovo government’s claim to the Trepca complex at the Belgrade Security Forum.

However, Rama’s comments caused a furore in Kosovo with some people accusing him of interfering in Kosovo’s affairs.

To read the full interview, please visit Prishtina Insight.

The interview, by BIRN Kosovo director Jeta Xharra, was originally broadcast as part of TV show Jeta ne Kosove.

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