An unknown number of extinct members of Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) will face charges of crimes against humanity before a European tribunal specially constituted to prosecute those responsible militiamen murder, kidnapping and rape by members of the Serb and Roma minorities; atrocities committed in the months following the end of the Kosovo war (June 1999). The study of the Special Investigation Team of the EU for Kosovo (SITF), the European body responsible for the investigation of these crimes, was presented Tuesday in Brussels. Now, the EU is working with the Kosovo government, potential candidate for accession to the EU club, in the formation of the special tribunal that will judge the facts. Pending the final ratification, its creation is scheduled for the first half of 2015.
The U.S. attorney who instructed Brussels three years ago to prepare the report, Clint Williamson, has avoided making public the identities and number of militants involved in the abuses “to the constitution of the tribunal,” but explained that the working group addresses it has gathered “sufficient evidence” to accuse a group of people ” with high responsibilities ” in the KLA. The body has pointed Williamson, investigates crimes of “ethnic cleansing, forced displacement and sexual violence” against the Serb and Roma minorities. According to his calculations, since the end of armed conflict in the Balkan country, there have been 500 murders and 300 kidnappings or disappearances.
“There is compelling evidence that these crimes were not rebellious acts of individuals acting on their own responsibility. Were carried out in an organized manner, “remarked Williamson. The SITF – with the collaboration of Canada, U.S., Norway, Switzerland and Turkey began walking in 2011 with the mandate to investigate serious allegations that cast a report by the Council of Europe published in December 2010 and, where appropriate, prosecute those responsible. In the document, the European advisory body described cases of inhuman treatment of people and illicit extraction and trafficking in human organs in Kosovo in the period immediately following the end of the war. The text directly accused the current prime minister and KLA leader Hashim Thaci, and sparked strong criticism from those closest to the Executive of the Balkan country, who called him a racist and contrary to the independence of Kosovo sectors.
“What happened after the war can not be justified; is completely foreign to the defense of the homeland and freedom Kosovo”, has underlined the U.S. Attorney. However, unlike the report of the Council of Europe detail documenting cases of organ -the SITF only found “conclusive evidence” of such criminal practices a “handful of cases.” According to Williamson, the number of cases of organ trafficking ” has been exaggerated,” which has increased the suffering of the families of the missing. “It seemed that all these people had suffered this tragedy,” he added.
The EU research fills the gap left by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which had investigated the crimes committed during the armed conflict but whose term ended with the end of the war and prevented find out what happened in the months following the conflict. That’s where he comes in. SITF. ” What our research has been done and what the future court will do is investigate and judge what happened after the end of the war, given the jurisdictional limitation of the International Criminal Court,” said Williamson. The U.S. Attorney has also urged the Kosovo government and the EU to speed up the process of setting up the special court judge abuses.
In his appearance before the media, Williamson has also denounced the intimidation and coercion of those who have been witnesses of the attacks that have collaborated in the investigation. “It has been an extremely complex process,” he admitted. In the documentation, the SITF is committed to further investigation in the context of a process he calls “judicial and impartial.” Depending on the final outcome of the investigations, the national court will present newly minted indictment of several senior KLA extinct. In the best case scenario this criminality will be delayed until the middle of next year.