First Session of Trial in The Hague of Ex- Kosovo President Next Monday

Former President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci will appear in the first session in the courtroom of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) in The Hague on Monday, a statement released by KSC said as quoted by Kosovo media on Friday.

The indictment against Thaci was confirmed on 26 October 2020, and he was arrested by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) on 5 November 2020 being transferred to the KSC Detention Facilities in The Hague on the same day.

The indictment charges Hashim Thaci under various forms of criminal responsibility, with war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law.

Thaci’s Initial Appearance will be a public hearing, and as KSC has said during the Initial Appearance, the Pre-Trial Judge makes sure that the rights of the Accused, including the right to legal representation, are respected, and that the Accused understands the charges against him or her.

In the meantime the Heads of Mission of the EU and of Member States in Kosovo issued a joint statement on Friday saying that they took note of the resignation of the President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci.

“We appreciate the cooperation with the Specialist Chambers shown in recent days by President Hashim Thaci and former PDK leader Kadri Veseli as well as Rexhep Selimi and former Speaker of the Assembly Jakup Krasniqi. Moreover, we appreciate the addresses to the public yesterday by Mr. Thaci and Mr. Veseli, calling for respect of the judicial process,” the statement said.

In another development lawyer Dastid Pallaska has announced that he has joined the defence counsel of former Kosovo president, Hashim Thaci.

Speaking to the media on Friday after the Specialist Prosecutor’s office investigators ended a search operation in Thaci’s house in Caglavica, near Pristina, Pallaska said the raid was not about any specific reason adding that he finds strange carrying out searches after filing of the indictment.

“The search operation in his house has ended. When it comes to the target of the search, I can say that the target was generic. Without underestimating this fact, it remains unclear in both procedural and logical aspects, conducting searches after filing of the indictment. It seems that the Specialist Prosecutor’s office is still gathering evidence to substantiate its already confirmed indictment,” Pallaska said.

The Specialist Prosecutor’s Office in a statement on Friday morning announced that it is conducting operations in Kosovo without providing further details. According to the SPO, the operations were supported by the Kosovo Police and the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX). Media reported that the SPO investigators have searched the houses of Hashim Thaci, Kadri Veseli and Rexhep Selimi, who were arrested Thursday and transferred to The Hague to face war crime charges. /