Equipo Nizkor
        Bookshop | Donate
Derechos | Equipo Nizkor       


Kosovo Govt Prepares New War Crimes Court Vote

The government will call another vote on setting up a special war crimes court to try former Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas, indicating it now has enough support to get it approved.

The Kosovo government announced on Thursday that it is ready to call another vote on the controversial special court after it failed to gain approval in parliament last month because of opposition from many MPs.

A date for the parliamentary session has not been set, but the government said it would meet on Friday and reinitiate the process, which requires parliament to approve constitutional amendments to allow the court to be established.

The move signals that there will be the necessary majority to pass the amendments, after Kosovo came under mounting pressure from the US and the EU in the wake of last month's failed vote.

"The resubmitting of these constitutional amendments to parliament and their ratification is of special importance to the Republic of Kosovo in the process of fulfilling the obligations it has taken on towards its international partners," the government said in a statement.

So called 'specialised chambers' will be created at each level of the Kosovo judiciary to deal with allegations that Kosovo Liberation Army fighters were involved in the killings, abductions, illegal detentions and persecution of Serbs, Roma and Kosovo Albanians believed to be collaborators with the Serbian regime.

But veterans' associations and opposition parties have claimed that the new court is an insult to the KLA's armed struggle to escape Serbian control during the 1998-99 conflict.

Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci also failed to persuade a number of MPs from his Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) to vote for the court.

Thaci has been the main proponent of the court, even though the allegations, which first surfaced in a report by Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty in 2011, mention him as well.

The PDK is considered to be the successor to the KLA, and Thaci served as political head of the guerrilla force at the height of the conflict.

Opposition parties, including Vetevendosje, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo and the Initiative for Kosovo, have all been strongly critical of the court and openly celebrated when it was not ratified by parliament.

MPs from the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) of Prime Minister Isa Mustafa, who opposed the KLA and its actions in the 1990s, voted strongly in favour of the court.

US diplomats have warned that a failure to vote for the court could lead to it being set up by the UN Security Council -- as has been proposed by Serbia's ally Russia.

[Source: By Una Hajdari, Balkan Insight, BIRN, Pristina, 30Jul15]

Bookshop Donate Radio Nizkor

The Question of Kosovo
small logoThis document has been published on 03Aug15 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.