news 12 Dec 17

Kosovo Veterans Campaign Against Special Court Law

Kosovo Liberation Army veterans said they will launch a petition calling for the law governing the new Specialist Chambers, set up to try former KLA members, to be changed because it is “discriminatory”.

Die Morina, Ardit Kika
BIRN
Pristina
A KLA veteran during a protest in Pristina. Photo: Atdhe Mulla.

The head of the Veterans’ Association of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Hysni Gucati, said on Tuesday that a petition will be launched in two days’ time to amend the Law on the Kosovo Specialist Chambers because he said it is “discriminatory”.

“We are against a biased court and we demand that the Kosovo parliament reviews this law once again,” Gucati told a press conference.

“This means that the court ought not to try only KLA members but also Serbs who committed crimes in Kosovo,” he said.

He denied however that the Veterans’ Association is against the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, which will try former KLA members in The Hague for wartime and post-war abuses.

The Law on the Specialist Chambers was approved by the Kosovo Assembly in August 2015 and the new court became operational last year, but has not issued any indictments yet.

The deputy head of the Veterans’ Association, Nasim Haradinaj, said that those parliament members who voted for the law “should be ashamed”.

He said the Specialist Chambers “is a violation of human rights” because “a mono-ethnic court” has been established.

Jahir Bejta, a representative of the Raising Voice Association, which campaigns for Serbia to pay compensation for war damages during 1998- 1999, said that the Specialist Chambers is “political”.

Bejta said that if the new court operates as planned, “liberators should not respond the indictments”.

“The indictments are imposed by a discriminatory law, therefore it would be normal to not respond to these indictments, until the law is amended,” he said. 

Senior KLA figures are expected to be indicted for alleged crimes committed during and after the war with Serbian forces.

The new court will hear cases arising from the 2014 EU Special Investigative Task Force report which said that unnamed KLA officials would face indictments for a “campaign of persecution” against Serbs, Roma and Kosovo Albanians believed to be collaborators with the Belgrade regime.

The alleged crimes include killings, abductions, illegal detentions and sexual violence.

The court has international staff and is based in The Hague, but operates under Kosovo law.

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