Former Kosovo president Hashim Thaçi pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial in The Hague on Monday. He is on trial for war crimes during Serbia’s struggle for independence.
“I am not guilty,” Thaçi, 54, said in court. Together with three other leaders of the UCK (Kosovar Liberation Army), he is on trial for crimes committed in the late 1990s. In 2020, he resigned as president to answer for the case.
Ethnic Albanians fought for the independence of what was then a Serbian province in 1998 and 1999. The four accused were then said to have been the head of a “joint criminal organization” that killed over a hundred people. The charges include murder, torture and persecution. There are more than 300 names on the witness list.
Thaçi is the first defendant in the Kosovo special tribunal who previously held a senior political position. “No one is above the law,” said Attorney Alex Whiting.