President Thaçi’s address after his return from The Hague
Dear compatriots and fellow citizens,
Sister and brothers of blood and language,
Citizens of Kosovo, regardless of the language you speak and ethnicity you belong,
Dear friends, you who represent friendly countries here in Prishtina and dear most valuable international partners,
During this week, for four consecutive days, I carried out my civic and institutional duty by appearing in front of the Prosecutors of the Specialized Chambers in The Hague.
I went through 30 hours of facing the prosecution body where I learned about all their allegations and I answered all their questions.
I have full respect for the process of shedding light, until the very end, on the truth and on my role in the struggle for freedom and independence.
For ethical reasons and due to legal constrains, I cannot elaborate details of this encounter.
Still, I cannot go without sharing anything with you.
I am aware that all of you stood by me with fraternal care and you all legitimately have questions about allegations of the Specialist Prosecutor against me.
I want to make three points while asking for your understanding that I don’t dwell in the details of this encounter.
First: As I stated even before stepping on the gates of the court – the glorious history of our liberation struggle and state forming of an independent, democratic and European Kosovo cannot be rewritten by anyone!
Today, I can tell you with full confidence that this process not only that will not rewrite this history, one that was written by the blood and sacrifices of a whole nation in the fight for freedom.
On the contrary.
In this process, no matter the path and no matter how long it will last, the glorious story of resistance, survival and the triumph over an occupier that aimed to annihilate Albanian people of Kosovo from the face of the Earth with strokes of ethnic fascism, once and for all will be rendered untouchable by anyone!
Second: This latest process is another one among 21 years of accusations, allegations and fabrications about the Kosovo Liberation Army and the struggle of the people of Kosovo for freedom and sovereignty.
This process will seal once and for all the historical role of the KLA as an indispensable and unalienated role for freedom, won for all the generations that will come, that will inherit Kosovo as an independent and democratic state.
This ethnic contempt, mistreatment of Albanians from even before they were born, genocidal campaigns against inhabitants with historical rights over this land, repression that peaked with ethnic cleansing of genocidal dimensions, will be one of the darkest chapters of our history that cannot be ever repeated.
And thirdly: Having had the opportunity and the honor to have a role in the war and in the path to independence and state-building of Kosovo;
I am even more convinced today, even more determined than before this hearing, about the great value that the struggle and personal sacrifice to reveal this 22-year-old history, has.
A history filled with wounds caused by accusations against myself and against our joint war alongside the USA, NATO, member states of the European Union and other allies, for the liberation of the people of Kosovo from the fascist dictatorship of Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbian state.
Tonight I want to reiterate that to me Kosovo always comes first, and as I was ready to give my life for Kosovo when I was still a young boy, today when I am a grey-haired parent I have no doubt that my duty is to defend Kosovo by not allowing that the process I’ve been included in unjustly, becomes an obstacle for the work towards a better future for Kosovo.
Therefore, by thanking you from the bottom of my heart for this nationwide respect and solidarity, I want to ask you all to put Kosovo above any party differences, over daily glooms and dissatisfactions.
Kosovo is a testament of our ancestors, our founding fathers, our martyrs, our heroes, of Hasan Prishtina, Shota and Azem, of Adem Jashari, Adem Demaci and Ibrahim Rugova, and hundreds and thousands of others who are the guardian angels of this land.
Kosovo is a vision, but also a debt we owe to our children and to the children of our children.
Those who are growing up in this land and those who will be born and live in the land that many attempted to take away from us, a land burnt and smeared with blood.
It is our joint duty to build the path of democratic and multi-ethnic coexistence.
This way we make our democracy stronger, improve wellbeing, and build bridges of lasting peace between each-other and our neighbors.
More than ever, Kosovo needs a civilized dialogue between political actors, needs institutional stability, good governance, and political and citizens’ unity, especially in the dialogue for recognition by Serbia and the world.
Today, Kosovo needs to foster plurality of thought and live with the healthy debate between government and opposition.
However, at the same time we need to speak to the world with one voice and continue the dialogue with Serbia with an exemplary unity like the one we had in Rambouillet, Vienna, and in Brussels.
Yesterday, I was a warrior in the service of Kosovo, and you’ve given me everything.
You’ve trusted me with everything that can be given to a man by his country, his people!
To build a new Kosovo, a European Kosovo, home to all its citizens
I bow with respect to your trust.
I am forever grateful.
I haven’t been perfect, but I have always tried to do the best for my country and for you.
I want to shake hands with each and every one of you, to give everyone a hug, and assure you that I will return to you with every cell of myself cleared of accusations and continue the journey with you and for you.