Hashim Thaçi

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Hashim Thaçi
The Prime Minister of Kosovo.jpg
Prime Minister of Kosovo
Incumbent
Assumed office
9 January 2008
President Fatmir Sejdiu
Jakup Krasniqi (Acting)
Behgjet Pacolli
Jakup Krasniqi (Acting)
Atifete Jahjaga
Deputy Hajredin Kuçi
Behgjet Pacolli
Preceded by Agim Çeku
In office
2 April 1999 – 1 February 2000
President Ibrahim Rugova
Nexhat Daci (Acting)
Preceded by Bujar Bukoshi
Succeeded by Nexhat Daci (Acting)
Personal details
Born (1968-04-24) 24 April 1968 (age 46)
Srbica, Yugoslavia
(now Kosovo[b])
Political party Democratic Party of Kosovo
Spouse(s) Lumnije Thaçi
Alma mater University of Pristina
University of Zürich
Religion non practicing Cultural Muslim

Hashim Thaçi [a] ([haˈʃim ˈθat͡ʃi] ( ); born 24 April 1968) is the caretaker Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo,[b] the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (DPK), and the former political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a paramilitary organisation which was active during the Kosovo War.

Early life and education[edit]

Hashim Thaçi was born in Broja, a small village in Skenderaj, Yugoslavia. He studied philosophy and history at the University of Pristina.[citation needed] By 1993, Hashim Thaçi was living in Switzerland, where he joined the Albanian political émigré group. He also pursued postgraduate studies at the University of Zürich in the departments of history and international relations. He became one of the founders of the People's Movement of Kosovo (LPK).

Role in KLA[edit]

In 1993, Thaçi became a member of the inner circle of the KLA. Thaçi (nom de guerre "Gjarpëri" - The Snake) was responsible for securing financial means and armaments, and training recruits in Albania to be dispatched to Kosovo.[citation needed] In 1997, Thaçi was tried in absentia and convicted by the Serbian authorities in Pristina for an alleged act of conspiracy for terrorism associated with his activities in the KLA.[1] In March 1999, Thaçi participated in the Rambouillet negotiations as the leader of the Kosovar Albanian team.[2] Thaçi was perceived by western diplomats during the negotiations as the "voice of reason" within the KLA: his attendance at the negotiations demonstrated a willingness to accept autonomy for Kosovo within Serbia at a time when other rebel leaders rejected any solution short of full national independence.[2] Thaçi emerged from the final diplomatic settlement as the leader of the strongest faction within a KLA rife with factionalism. He moved quickly to consolidate power, unilaterally naming himself prime minister within a provisional government and allegedly ordering the assassination of the leaders of rival armed factions.[3][4]

Alleged criminal activities[edit]

Thaçi is alleged to have extensive criminal links. During the period of time when he was head of the Kosovo Liberation Army, The Washington Times reported that the KLA was financing its activities by trafficking the illegal drugs of heroin and cocaine into western Europe.[5] KLA supporters say that the KLA received funds from the Albanian diaspora in the US and the Albanian, United Kingdom, and United States governments.

The BBC reported in 2000 that Thaçi is allegedly central to the criminal activities of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), who reportedly extorted money from businessmen under the guise of "taxes" for his self-appointed government.[6] While the KLA was officially disbanded at the end of armed conflict in Kosovo in 1999, the new Kosovo Protection Corps was composed primarily of former KLA fighters and the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK). The party was formed largely from the political leadership of the KLA. A near monopoly on the means of force, based on the absorption of the KLA into the KPC, allowed the Democratic Party of Kosovo to seize control of the machinery of government at the municipal level.[6] The PDK has regularly used violence and intimidation of political rivals to maintain local political control and protect criminal enterprises that depend upon cooperation from friendly local authorities.[7]

In 2001, the Democratic Party of Kosovo suffered electoral defeat in the first free elections in the province in 2001. The BBC said at the time, "The tumbling reputation of the former KLA was to have a disastrous effect on the PDK because of the perceived overlap between its political leadership and post-KLA organised crime."[8]

A recent analysis of organised crime in Kosovo prepared by the German intelligence service BND and a confidential report contracted by the German military, the Bundeswehr, accuse Thaçi, Ramush Haradinaj, and Xhavit Haliti, the majority leader of the Kosovo parliament, of far-reaching involvement in organised crime. The BND writes: "The key players (including Haliti, Haradinaj, and Thaçi) are intimately involved in inter-linkages between politics, business, and organised crime structures in Kosovo."[9] The report accuses Thaçi of leading a "criminal network operating throughout Kosovo" by the end of the 1990s.[9] The BND report also accuses Thaçi of contacts with the Czech and Albanian mafias. It says that he, together with Haliti, ordered killings by a professional hit man, 'Afrimi', who is responsible for at least 11 contract murders.[9]

Council of Europe accusations[edit]

Further information: Organ theft in Kosovo

A report to the Council of Europe, written by Dick Marty, issued on 15 December 2010[10] states that Hacim Thaçi was the leader of the "Drenica Group" in charge of trafficking organs taken from Serbian prisoners. As reported by several international,[11] Serbian,[12] Kosovan[13] and Albanian[14] news agencies, in an interview for Albanian TV Klan on 24 December 2010, Thaçi said that he would publish the methods used by Dick Marty and the names of his collaborators in the report that accuses him of organ trafficking in Kosovo.

BBC news reported having seen a draft of the Council of Europe document, and asserts that it names "Hashim Thaci, Kosovo's current Prime Minister and wartime political leader of the KLA, 27 times in as many pages". They said the report charges the former KLA commanders of serious human rights abuses, including organ and drug trafficking.[10][15] In 2011, Marty retreated from earlier reports and said that his report never implicated Thaçi directly.[16]

Victory in 2007 election and declaration of Kosovar independence[edit]

President of US George W. Bush shakes hands with Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu (center) and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi (left) during a meeting in the White House on 21 July 2008, after Kosovo declared independence.

Kosovo elections were held on 17 November 2007. After early results based on 90 per cent of the votes, Hashim Thaçi, who was on course to gain 34 percent, claimed victory for the PDK. He stated his intention to declare independence without delay on 10 December, the date set by the United Nations for the end of negotiations with Serbia. At 45 percent, the turnout at the election was particularly low, as most Serbs refused to vote.[17]

On 19 November 2007, several EU foreign ministers warned Thaçi and his allies against proceeding with their declaration of independence without consultations. Luxembourg's Jean Asselborn and Sweden's Carl Bildt urged the PDK not to make any hasty moves, while the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana stressed the importance of proper preparations prior to formal independence. After EU talks on Kosovo in London on 19 November 2007, the UK's Europe minister, Jim Murphy, said independence without foreign support could isolate the breakaway province.[18]

Thaçi and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden with Declaration of Independence of Kosovo

Hashim Thaçi was designated as the next leader of Kosovo's government on 11 December 2007 by the Kosovar President Fatmir Sejdiu and told to form a government "as soon as possible". His Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) began coalition talks with the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) as well as the Alliance for New Kosovo (AKR). Those parties together control 75 seats of 120 in the assembly.[19] On 9 January 2008, Thaçi was elected as Prime Minister by parliament, with 85 votes in favor and 22 against. On this occasion, he stated his intention to achieve independence for Kosovo in the first half of 2008.[20]

On 16 February 2008, Thaçi announced that the next day, 17 February, would be key for "implementing the will of the citizens of Kosovo", strongly implying the province would declare independence from Serbia.[21] On 17 February 2008, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia. Thaçi became Prime Minister of the newly independent state.

On 6 June 2008, a gunman broke into Thaçi's home in Pristina, while the latter was not present.[22]

Prime Minister of Kosovo 2007 - 2014[edit]

Coalition with the Democratic League of Kosovo[edit]

Thaçi joined by his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, 3 November 2010
Thaçi and Albanian PM Sali Berisha at the opening of Kalimash tunnel

Victory in 2014 Parliamentary Elections[edit]

Following his re-election as Prime Minister on June 8, 2014, Thaci has declared a primary focus on economic development and job creation by "generating 200,000 jobs in the next 4 years" facilitated by repatriating around €1.5b currently held in a caretaker account abroad.[23]

Honours and awards[edit]

  •  Albania: On 20 June 2008 received a copy of the key of the city of Tirana on the occasion of his state visit to Albania.[24]
  •   Switzerland: On 1 July 2012 he received a Doctor Honoris Causa degree as a Doctor of International Relations from the Geneva School of Diplomacy in a ceremony held in that city. Previous recipients of this award include Martin Gray, a Holocaust survivor and writer; Adolf Ogi, the former president of Switzerland; Jose Ramos-Horta, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize; and the East Timor President.[25]

Notes[edit]

a.   ^ Albanian: Hashim Thaçi. Serbo-Croatian: Hašim Tači, Хашим Тачи.
b.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been recognised by 108 out of 193 United Nations member states.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hashim Thaci or When the Little Red-Cap's Wolf is Tamed[dead link]
  2. ^ a b Gall, Carlotta (3 February 1999). "Ethnic Albanian Guerrillas Will Attend Talks on Kosovo". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Hedges, Chris (6 June 1999). "Crisis in the Balkans: The Guerrillas; Kosovo Rebel Force Will Be Serbian Province's New Power Broker". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Hedges, Chris (25 June 1999). "Crisis in the Balkans: The Separatists; Leaders of Kosovo Rebels Tied to Deadly Power Play". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "KLA finances fight with heroin sales - Terror group is linked to crime network"; Jerry Seper. Washington Times, Washington, D.C.: May 3, 1999. pg. A.1
  6. ^ a b "Kosovo gripped by racketeers". BBC News. 5 April 2000. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  7. ^ "Political violence in run-up to Kosovo vote", Christian Science Monitor, 15 August 2000
  8. ^ "Analysis: Kosovo chooses normality". BBC News. 30 October 2000. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c "German spy affair might have been revenge", Die Welt Online, 30 November 2008
  10. ^ a b Paul Lewis (14 December 2010). "Kosovo PM is head of human organ and arms ring, Council of Europe reports". London: The Guardian. 
  11. ^ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in West Balkan languages: Tači će objaviti spisak Albanaca koji su pomagali Martiju (Thaci will publish the list of Albanians who were helping Marty)
  12. ^ B92 in English: Thaci to release names of Marty's helpers
  13. ^ Kosova Info: Thaçi ka dosje të bashkëpunëtorëve të Martyt (Thaci has record of Marty's collaborators)
  14. ^ Info Albania: Thaci ka dosje te bashkepunetoreve te Martyt
  15. ^ "BBC's comments on the draft report". BBC. Dec 14, 2010. 
  16. ^ Collaku, Petrit (January 19, 2011). "Dick Marty Clarifies Organ Harvesting Allegations". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  17. ^ "Low turnout hits Kosovo election". euronews. 2007-11-18. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  18. ^ "EU warns Kosovo on independence". BBC News. 2007-11-19. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  19. ^ "Thaci designated to head Kosovo government". Deutsche Presse-Agentur (Monsters and Critics). 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  20. ^ "Ex-rebel becomes Kosovo's prime minister". MSNBC. Associated Press. 2008-01-09. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  21. ^ "Kosovo MPs proclaim independence". BBC News. 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  22. ^ "Armed attack at Kosovo PM's home". BBC News. 2008-06-07. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  23. ^ "American Times with Prime Minister of Kosovo: Hashim Thaci". www.the-american-times.com. American Times. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  24. ^ Received a copy of the key of the city of Tirana
  25. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Bujar Bukoshi
Prime Minister of Kosovo
1999–2000
Succeeded by
Nexhat Daci
Acting
Preceded by
Agim Çeku
Prime Minister of Kosovo
2008–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bajram Rexhepi
Leader of the Democratic Party
2004–present
Incumbent