Kosovo President resigns amidst war crimes charge

Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci resigned on Thursday (November 5), after his indictment for war crimes by a tribunal in The Hague was confirmed.

Prosecutors hold Thaci responsible for nearly 100 civilian murders during the 1998-99 war that led to Kosovo's independence from Serbia.

Thaci, who was a senior commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army guerrilla group, has denied any wrongdoing.

He explained to reporters at a news conference in Pristina, why he felt his resignation was necessary.

"As I have promised, I will not allow under any circumstances that a President of the Republic of Kosovo appears in front of the court. Therefore, in order to protect the integrity of the presidency of the Republic of Kosovo, integrity of the state of Kosovo, integrity and dignity of Kosovo citizens and respecting the partnership with the international community, I resign today from the position of president of the Republic of Kosovo."

The Specialist Chamber was set up in The Hague in 2015 to handle cases of alleged crimes by KLA guerrillas during the uprising.

Local efforts to investigate alleged KLA war crimes have so far been met with hostility in the tiny state, where clan loyalties run deep and former rebels are now heroes.