[ti:Kosovo President Resigns to Face War Crimes Charges] [by:www.houshang36.top] [00:00.00]更多听力请访问51VOA.COM [00:00.04]Kosovo President Hashim Thaci resigned on Thursday [00:05.80]to face war crimes charges brought by a court [00:10.40]in The Hague in the Netherlands. [00:13.92]The 52-year-old leader said he had decided to step down [00:19.20]"to protect the integrity of the presidency." [00:24.12]The charges are for war crimes and crimes against humanity. [00:30.80]They date back to Thaci's involvement [00:34.36]in Kosovo's war for independence from Serbia. [00:40.48]Thaci was a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), [00:45.72]an ethnic Albanian guerrilla group [00:49.20]that fought against Serbian security forces in the 1998-1999 war. [00:58.68]Thaci was indicted in June, along with nine other former rebel leaders, [01:05.52]by a special Kosovo court and prosecutor's office based in The Hague. [01:13.28]The court was established in 2015 to investigate [01:18.24]and try former ethnic Albanian rebel leaders for alleged war crimes. [01:26.32]Prosecutors accuse Thaci and other suspects of being responsible [01:32.76]for the murders of nearly 100 civilians during the war. [01:39.28]The group is also accused of causing the "enforced disappearance [01:44.88]of persons, persecution and torture." [01:49.32]The charges relate to "hundreds of known victims [01:54.52]of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities [02:01.12]and include political opponents," prosecutors said. [02:07.40]The president's closest ally, Kadri Veseli, said Thursday [02:13.40]an indictment against him had also been confirmed [02:17.64]by the court and that he would go to The Hague. [02:21.64]Thaci and Veseli both deny any involvement in war crimes. [02:29.60]The 1998-1999 war killed more than 10,000 people, [02:36.64]most of them ethnic Albanians. [02:40.36]At least 1,641 people are still unaccounted for. [02:48.68]A 78-day NATO air campaign [02:52.12]against Serbian troops brought the war to an end. [02:57.48]Thaci said he was proud to have belonged [03:01.36]to the Kosovo Liberation Army during the war. [03:06.68]He called the force "the most sublime value of the Albanian nation." [03:14.00]He called the indictment "the smallest price we have to pay [03:18.92]for the freedom of our people." [03:22.72]The government said in a statement [03:25.28]that all defendants should be considered innocent [03:29.24]unless the court decides otherwise. [03:33.24]"No one may judge our fight for freedom," [03:36.76]the government said in a statement. [03:40.36]It added that the KLA "fought for the liberation of our country, [03:46.52]to protect the house and not in a foreign land, [03:50.96]and as such it has the support of the international community." [03:57.44]Thaci held a ceremony at his office to hand over presidential duties [04:03.52]to the head of Kosovo's parliament, Vjosa Osmani. [04:08.60]The government said the move was in line with the country's constitution. [04:15.28]Thaci was elected president in February 2016. [04:20.56]Before that, he served as foreign minister, [04:24.32]deputy prime minister and prime minister. [04:28.92]His current term ends in April 2021, when the National Assembly [04:35.08]was expected to elect a new president. [04:38.64]I'm Bryan Lynn. 更多听力请访问51VOA.COM www9778con