Kosovo edges closer to special war crimes court

17 December 2014 by Una Hajdari, Pristina (Kosovo)

Plans to form a special court for prosecuting crimes allegedly committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) gained ground last week with the election of a new prosecutor and Pristina’s announcement of a new government.

In a press release dated 11 December, the European Union communicated its selection of David Schwendiman as lead prosecutor for the Special Investigative Task Force (SITF). The body of Brussels-based investigators has, since 2011, been tasked with exposing the war crimes and organized crime that took place in Kosovo during and in the aftermath of the 1998-1999 conflict with Serbia. Schwendiman is taking over from fellow American John Clint Williamson. 

Word of the new prosecutor came just two days after Kosovo revealed its new government, resolving the political crisis that had the territory in its grip since June. Expectations are high for the new government to push through stalled laws needed for the establishment of the special court, which will officially fall under Kosovar jurisdiction.

Outgoing Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, grilled in the United Nations Security Council last week, promised that setting up the court would be a priority for the new government, one in which he will serve as deputy prime minister and foreign minister.

The Williamson report

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