Belgrade based daily Vecernje Novosti today writes that announcements from Pristina officials that war crimes cases and other cases of serious crimes, would be transferred from EULEX to a special court in Pristina, raise a concern among Kosovo Serbs due to rigged indictments. The daily adds that anxiety is caused also due to Kosovo authorities preparations for war crimes in absentia.
The daily reports that by gradual narrowing of EULEX’s mandate, since last summer, all cases that were under the authority of this mission began to be transferred to Kosovo courts.
In some of these cases, according to the sources of Novosti, the indictments were raised, some are in the investigation stage, and for those not initiated by the basic courts, were sent to the Basic Court in Pristina, a special department that is in the formation phase and has no Serbian judges.
Although it is envisaged that this department deals with crimes committed by KLA members, as well as crimes against Albanians, where the Serbs are suspected, since the Special Court for KLA crimes in The Hague has begun to work, there is concern that the court in Pristina will turn into a “tribunal for Serbs”, to have a “balance”.
The daily adds that although the idea of activating a special court has existed for many years, it is noteworthy that the announcement of the beginning of its work came very soon after the adoption of the Pristina platform for dialogue with Belgrade, which discusses the intention to establish a special war crimes court, for crimes allegedly committed by the Serbs.
Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Monday that she did not expect the Kosovo courts, who took over war crimes cases from EULEX, to deal seriously with this job:
– I do not expect anything good from that decision. From people who do not allow basic human rights, freedom of the media, who set cookie on fire on a national basis, really, I cannot believe that they will deal with the most serious crimes of the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army not only over Serbian, but also the non-Albanian and Albanian population in Kosovo.
According to Petar Petkovic, Assistant Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, the judiciary in Pristina is not ripe for trials in sensitive cases, such as those dealing with war crimes, because so far, many times those have been put in the service of intimidation of the Serb people in Kosovo.
– Any attempt to establish a prosecution and a court case in Pristina that would be contrary to the KLA crimes tribunal, that is, the court for Serbs, is undoubtedly in the function of continuing the persecution of the Serb people in Kosovo. We should keep in mind the fact that there a procedure is ongoing for the adoption of amendments to the Kosovo criminal law codes which would give their courts the right to trial war crimes in absentia. If that happens, we will have an unprecedented chase over the Serbs with incalculable consequences. Now, after all, it is clear why to Pristina is so much important membership in Interpol – concludes Petkovic, and by his opinion there are no basis for expecting that the justice system in Pristina will show any impartiality in the future and treat victims and perpetrators equally before the law regardless to their nationality.
The president of the Serbian List, Goran Rakic, told Vecernje Novosti that even until now, with the presence of the international community, that is, prosecutors and judges from the EU, countless indictments were mounted:
– There are cases where the Serbs were detained for several years on the basis of false charges. And what can we expect if Albanians do their work independently? It will be devastating for both justice and law.
– It is unbelievable that EULEX transfers the cases to a system that has not yet condemned any of the leading KLA people or has shed lite on some the crimes against Serbian civilians, such as the killing of farmers in Staro Gracko, the killing of Serb children in Bistrica or the case of Nis Express bus – states Petkovic for the daily.