Thaci denies KLA leaders investigated for warcrimes

PRISTINA, Jun 26, 2000 -- (AFP) The former political chief of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), Hashim Thaci, denied Monday that former guerrilla leaders were under investigation for war crimes.

"We had information there are enquiry's underway for five cases in which there are suspicions that KLA members might have been wrong. But there are no investigations against KLA leaders," Thaci told journalists in Pristina.

The prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Carla Del Ponte, on a visit last week to Kosovo, had indicated that her office was investigating warcrimes allegedly committed by the members at all levels of the KLA.

"We are investigating KLA activity during the armed conflict and it is not only the criminal responsibilities of low-level perpetrators ... our mandate is always to look at the highest responsibility in the chain of command," Del Ponte said.

Thaci, now leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), also approved the decision by Serb leaders on Sunday to rejoin the UN-supervised Kosovo administration after a three week boycott.

"I welcome this decision," he said, but added "you cannot build institutions be getting in and out whenever you want."

The Serb leaders boycotted the Kosovo administration for several months before joining in April only to withdraw on June 4 for three weeks.

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