Yesterday, the Kosovo parliament approved the creation of an EU-backed special court for serious abuses committed during and after the 1998-1999 Kosovo war. Parliament approved the special court by a vote of 82 to 22, with 2 abstentions.
The special court will adjudicate cases against individuals based on a 2010 report by Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty. The report accused some members of the ethnic Albanian insurgency, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), of abductions, beatings, summary executions, and in some cases, the forced removal of human organs on Albanian territory during and after the 1998-1999 Kosovo war. The report named some individuals currently in the Kosovo government, including Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.
Thaci, who was the political chief of the former Kosovo Liberation Army, has rejected the allegations as an attempt to tarnish KLA’s reputation.
The Marty report said most of the alleged crimes occurred after June 1999, when NATO’s bombing campaign forced Belgrade to end the war and withdraw Serb forces from Kosovo.
The special court will operate within the Kosovo justice system but, prosecutors and judges will be international. It will have one seat in Kosovo and another abroad, possibly in the Netherlands, which will deal with protected witnesses.
An estimated 10,000 people died during the 1998-99 war, the great majority of them being ethnic Albanians. About 1,700 people are still missing.