Kosovo’s president resigns

Hashim Thaci has been summoned to The Hague following accusations of historic war crimes

Photo by Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images.

2 minute read — by Sam Feierabend

In early November, president of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, resigned after being ordered to The Hague to face historic charges of war crimes. The allegations relate to Thaci’s actions as a military leader during the Kosovo War and his resignation adds another chapter to the troubled history of the East European state.

Kosovo sits between Serbia and Albania and has historically been a flashpoint for tension in the Balkan region due to its seemingly never ending quest for independence in its own right. Despite self-declaring independence from Serbia in 2008, this is not officially recognised by Serbia and Kosovo as a sovereign state is only recognised by 98 UN nations. Made up of ethnic Albanians, the state has been the subject of oppression from Serbian leaders which has fueled for their push to become autonomous. This led to the Kosovo War in 1998-1999 which displaced or injured over 250,000 civilians from Serbia, Albania and Kosovo, and involved multiple alleged war crimes including those of the now-ex President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci.

Thaci himself was a guerrilla warfare leader within the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and has been alleged to have committed war crimes including murder, enforced disappearance, persecution and torture between 1998 and 2000. He became the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo in 2007 before being elected President in 2016. Following the announcement from The Hague that he would stand trial, Thaci stood down as president on 5th November.

At a time where Kosovo has started to gain recognition on the world stage, the resignation of their leader for the allegations could threaten the credibility of the state as an independent nation. This would be somewhat of a setback, considering the progress that has been made over the last decade in recognising Kosovo as an autonomous state.