News 21 Jul 15

Britain Increases Pressure for Kosovo War Court

Senior British diplomat Baroness Joyce Anelay said Pristina must keep its promise and set up a new special court to try former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters for alleged war crimes.

Petrit Collaku
BIRN
Pristina
Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga with Joyce Anelay.

Baroness Anelay, Britain’s state minister for foreign affairs, added on Tuesday to the mounting international pressure on Pristina to set up the new special court despite its unpopularity among the Kosovo public and resistance from MPs.

“When Kosovo keeps its word and sets up the court it shows the whole world that Kosovo is ready to move on and be accepted as a part of the world internationally,” Anelay told a joint press conference with Kosovo’s President Atifete Jahjaga.

The establishment of the special court was delayed again last month when Kosovo’s parliament failed to approve necessary constitutional changes.

Jahjaga said that such delays do not help Kosovo.

“My stance was very clear from the beginning. We have to undertake these international obligations that we have to fulfill and prove that we stand by a principle for justice for all,” she said.

The mandate for the court is derived from a report published in 2011 by Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty, who claimed that crimes against civilians such as kidnapping, torture and organ-harvesting were committed by members of the KLA during the 1998-99 conflict.

The report implicated the former political head of the KLA and the ex-prime minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, who is now foreign minister. Thaci strongly denies the allegations.

The court has been highly controversial in Kosovo. Veterans’ associations and opposition parties have claimed that it is an insult to the KLA’s armed struggle to escape Serbian control.

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