news 23 Dec 16

Kosovo President Defends Visits to Serb War Memorials

President Hashim Thaci said he paid tribute at memorials to Serb war victims as a gesture of reconciliation and was not insulting Kosovo Albanians’ struggle for liberation during the 1990s conflict.

Die Morina
Hashim Thaci addresses MPs on Friday. Photo: Atdhe Mulla.

President Hashim Thaci told parliament on Friday that he visited memorials to Serbs killed during and after the 1999 war in recent months to send a message of reconciliation, and rejected claims that he was denigrating the Kosovo Liberation Army’s struggle.

“It was said that the values of the Kosovo people’s war for freedom were being undermined, that the martyrs and the holy war of the KLA were being insulted,” Thaci told MPs.

Thaci was criticised by Kosovo Albanians after his visit to a memorial to Serbs who were killed 17 years ago in Staro Gracko/Gracke, on which it was written that the victims were murdered by “Albanian terrorists”.

“I knew what was written on those memorials in the Cyrillic alphabet. I do not agree with that text because it is prejudiced and a lie. But this should not stop us honouring the victims,” said Thaci.

“I am convinced that I was doing the best for the country,” he added.

A few weeks after Thaci visited the memorial in Staro Gracko/Gracke, unknown vandals targeted it with threatening graffiti, writing the Albanian word “Hakmarrja” (“Revenge”).

Thaci also visited a Serb memorial in Hoqa e Madhe/Velika Hoca this month.

During his address to parliament, Thaci also said that the new Hague-based Special Court which is expected to file its first indictments against former KLA officers next year was not set up because of poor political decisions in Kosovo, but because domestic courts failed to protect witnesses in war crimes cases.

“International pressure to establish the Special Court came as a result of bad experiences of protecting witnesses, threats [against them] or their murder. This is the main argument on which we could not challenge the international community,” he said.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

News 28 Nov 17

Tempers Rise in Macedonian Resort Over Tall Minaret

Comment 21 Nov 17

Bosnia Marks Dayton Anniversary Amid Growing Crisis

News 18 Nov 17

Croatia Commemorates 26 Years Since Vukovar’s Fall

Interview 30 Oct 17

World Jewish Congress Urges Croatia to Debate Holocaust

news 25 Oct 17

Kosovo Acts to Preserve War Victims’ Possessions

News 23 Oct 17

Monument to Murdered Serbian PM Djindjic Sparks Row

Feature 11 Oct 17

Why Croatia’s President Tudjman Imitated General Franco

feature 03 Oct 17

Bosnia Activists Install Signs at Unmarked War Sites