Leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), Kadri Veseli has been indicted of war crimes by the Hague-based Specialist Chambers, the PDK said in a statement. According to the PDK Veseli was informed on Wednesday afternoon that a pre-trial judge with the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) has filed an indictment against him. Veseli in his letter addressed to public said that he will give up all his political posts and will travel today to the Hague to face the charges.
Read full statement of Veseli:
Yesterday afternoon, I was informed by the Office of the Specialist Prosecutor that the pretrial judge of the Specialist Chambers has authorised an Indictment to be issued against me. I am issuing this statement to inform the public that I have made arrangements to travel voluntarily to The Hague in order to answer to these charges. I will not be commenting further at this time.
I know that some people in Kosovo view the Specialist Chambers as an insult to our historic fight to protect the people of Kosovo from the ravages of the Milosevic regime. But I do not see it that way. I welcome the opportunity to finally answer the false allegations and rumours that have been circulating for many years. Ever since Dick Marty published his flawed report, it was inevitable that this day would come. It was inevitable that the unjust accusations he made would have to be tested in a court of law, so that they can finally be put to rest. That is why I supported the establishment of this tribunal, and it is why I am now ready to play my part in that process.
More than twenty years have passed since the end of our war of liberation. Kosovo is now an independent State, and is well on its way towards admission to the United Nations. Since we aspire to be treated as an equal partner with other States, our political leaders must rise to that challenge, and behave as international Statesmen. When individual leaders are called upon to co-operate with an international tribunal, we must do so without hesitation. And if charges are made against us, they must be answered in the proper way, with evidence of the truth.
I have every confidence in the objectivity and fairness of the judges, and I would ask that everyone in Kosovo should show due respect to their judicial authority at all times. The process is there to get at the truth. We have nothing to fear from the truth. There must be no attempts whatsoever to undermine the work of the tribunal, or to obstruct or interfere in any way with due process. It must be allowed to get on with the important task we have entrusted to it. The integrity of the process must be respected at all times and by everyone. Justice does not just serve the interests of one side or the other. It serves the interests of the people. So, if you are asked to assist the Specialist Chambers, please do so without hesitating. That way, we will all get at the truth. I would therefore ask that all sections of our society respond to this situation calmly and with dignity, confident in the knowledge that the judges will deliver a just result at the end of the process.
Please remember at all times that this tribunal was set up by the Kosovo Parliament, acting on behalf of the people. It is the embodiment of the principle that there is no peace without justice and no justice without peace. Although it sits in The Hague, it is part of our own law. There should be no resentment directed towards the internationals who work at the tribunal. They are only doing what we, the people of Kosovo, have asked them to do. This tribunal is part of Kosovo’s journey to Statehood, and we must see it through to the end.
I would like to thank the Specialist Chambers for extending me the courtesy of an invitation to attend Court, rather than arresting me in an undignified way. I have responded to that courtesy by agreeing arrangements to travel this morning with representatives of the tribunal to The Hague, where I will formally appear in court to answer these charges, and to begin the long process of defending the case. This will require my full engagement and concentration, and I have therefore decided to step back from all public political activity for the duration of the process. I will not be making further public statements or official appearances in Kosovo whilst these proceedings are ongoing. For now, at least, I am a private citizen. Until the end of these proceedings, I would ask that this position is respected by everyone in Kosovo, particularly those involved in the media and or in public political life.
Personal sacrifices must sometimes be made for the greater good of the nation. Many of our people have already sacrificed a great deal. Far too many have made the ultimate sacrifice. The process that is beginning before the Specialist Chambers is the final step on our historic journey towards full Statehood. It should be welcomed as an opportunity to establish that we fought a just war against overwhelming odds, and that we did so honourably.
If mistakes were made, then of course individuals should be held accountable for their actions. That is what the rule of law means to a new nation like ours. But I am quite confident that when the judges have heard all the evidence, they will conclude beyond reasonable doubt that the Kosovo Liberation Army was a people’s movement, an uprising in self-defence, with brave men and women doing their honest best, in almost impossible circumstances, without formal structures, to protect the civilian population against a carefully planned and genocidal military onslaught by Serbian forces. Today, in honour of the memory of the 10,000 or more innocent victims of the Milosevic regime, we must stand up and tell our story. I must stand up and tell my story. We must tell their story. We must set the record straight, so that history may know the truth.