News 19 Feb 15

Confidential Kosovo Special Court Details Revealed

The soon-to-be-established special court to try war crimes suspects will officially be part of Pristina’s justice system but will work independently, with judges appointed by the EU’s Kosovo mission.

Petrit Collaku
Vetevendosje MPs Albulena Haxhiu and Glauk Konjufca.

The opposition Vetevendosje (Self-Determination Movement) on Thursday published confidential details about the new special court which is expected to try former Kosovo Liberation Army officials for serious crimes during and after the 1998-99 war.

Vetevendosje gave journalists the text of a draft law prepared by the European Commission, which will pave the way to create the special court and says that it will officially be part of Pristina’s justice system but will work independently.

Its judges will be interviewed by an international panel and appointed by the head of the EU’s rule-of-law mission in Kosovo, EULEX, the draft law says.

The special court’s jurisdiction will cover offences committed between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 2000.

The draft law says that chambers will be based in Kosovo as well as in a host country, while the prosecution will in a host country “but it could have an office in Kosovo”. It has been widely rumoured that the Netherlands will be the host country.

Vetevendosje said the draft law would harm Kosovo by tainting the liberation war waged by the Kosovo Liberation Army.

Vetevendosje MP Albulena Haxhiu also complained that Pristina would have no legal oversight.

“There will be no supervision of the process by Kosovo’s Judicial Council,” Haxhiu told media on Thursday.

A European Union Special Investigative Task Force report said last year that unnamed former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters could face prosecution at the new court for conducting “a campaign of persecution” against Serbs, Roma and Kosovo Albanians believed to be collaborators with the Serbian regime.

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

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