Former Kosovo President Hashim Thaci pleaded not guilty to war crimes charges before the Specialist Court Chambers in the Hague.
Thaci was indicted as a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) for political and ethnic based persecution, abductions, imprisonment, torture and murder of Serb and Albanian civilians in 1998 and 1999. He was indicted along with several other senior KLA commanders for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
This was Thaci’s first appearance in court after the publication of new indictments last week. He told the judge that he does not understand what the prosecution is charging him with because that is not clear from the documents filed. “I did not understand the indictment because I couldn’t read all of it. It has been greatly redacted,” he said.
Thaci’s lawyer said that the other indictees also couldn’t understand the charges because of the redactions and the judge responded saying that the interventions are customary to hide witness identities.
The first appearance in court lasted just 15 minutes instead of the scheduled hour and a half.