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(Un)protected witnesses of the special court in Kosovo (RTS, Politika)

By   /  11/08/2015  /  No Comments

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Special court for war crimes is supposed to become operational in the early days of 2016, whereas its most difficult task would be protection of witnesses, along with protection of the accused ones. Prosecution in Belgrade claims that 40 witnesses in processes against Ramush Haradinay and Fatmir Limaj were killed or intimidated.

Lead prosecutor of the special court for war crimes committed by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) will be American David Schwendiman, who is heading Special Investigative Unit of the European Union based on allegations of the Dick Marty, carried Pristina-based agency Kosovapress. He used to serve as international prosecutor in the special war crimes department within the general prosecutor’s office of Bosnia and Herzegovina. His investigation on crimes of the Bosniak forces against the Jugoslav National Army soldiers withdrawing from Tuzla in May 1992 has not establish any responsibility of Bosniaks, what prompted critics of Serbs.

Prosecution in Belgrade considers establishment of the court as recognition for their own work. They said that all documents in relation to execution of hundreds of individuals were forwarded to the special rapporteur Dick Marty. “I don’t know exact details about how it is going to develop in future, we are ready to assist to the court as we did so far, and I would like to remind that testimonies of all those witnesses carried out by Williamson’s team were carried out with our logistic support,” underlined chief Serbian war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic.

Those who are well informed say that around 100 cases are ready for trials. However, they all agree that protection of witnessed will be difficult, taking into account previous experience from the Hague Tribunal.

Dusan Janjic from the Forum for Ethnic Relations says that most difficult task will be to provide safety of witnesses and accused persons, what actually led to decision that first trials will, partially or completely, take place in the special court’s office in Hague, with estimations that this office will be operational for a year or year and a half.

Former correspondent from Kosovo Milivoje Mihajlovic opines that most of the individuals who make political elite in Kosovo will be charged by the court. He went on to say that power of these individuals is strong because they are in the same time ruling authorities in Kosovo and ruling the underground. He went on to say that the role of the court will be used by international community and the West to exercise pressure on authorities in Pristina and to direct flows in Kosovo and Metohija.

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