The Corner

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Trouble in the Balkans

Last week, the president of Kosovo was indicted of war crimes by The Hague. Hashim Thaci had been a prominent member of the Kosovo Liberation Army during the bloody war of independence against Serbia in the late ’90s before playing a leading role in peace negotiations. He then served as prime minister once independence was secured before ascending to the presidency in February of 2016. According to the special court convened by The Hague, Thaci and several of his comrades “are criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders. The crimes alleged in the Indictment involve hundreds of known victims of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities and include political opponents.” 

Following this verdict, Thaci canceled a scheduled trip to the White House during which he was supposed to partake in peace negotiations with envoys from the Serbian government mediated by Richard Grenell, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Serbia and Kosovo Peace Negotiations. The talks will continue between the Kosovar and Serbian prime ministers, but Thraci’s absence, especially on the pretext of an indictment for crimes committed against Serbs, will undoubtedly put a damper on the proceedings. There are far more important geopolitical priorities for the United States right now, but we could all do without an unnecessary escalation in the Balkans. 2020 has given us quite enough to deal with already. 

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