Kosovo wants guarantee, deal in exchange for KLA court?

Indictments for serious crimes committed by the KLA will not be raised for at least another year, daily Blic is reporting on Friday.

Source: Blic, Tanjug
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(EPA, file)
(EPA, file)

"There will not be indictments for at least a year, that is, until Belgrade-Pristina negotiations in Brussels have been completed," an unnamed source, "close to Pristina authorities," is quoted as telling this newspaper.

According to the article, published under the headline, "Agreement first, then indictments for KLA crimes," merely ten days after the new special prosecutor (of the Specialist Chambers, "Special Court") for the crimes of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) committed in Kosovo, Jack Smith, signed a solemn declaration that he will perform his duties independently, impartially and conscientiously - "it has become clear he will not do so quickly and efficiently."

The daily recalls that the establishment of the Special Court for KLA crimes has caused turmoil, while Kosovo President Hashim Thaci "has for some time been seen as an indictee before that court."

Blic, however, adds that given Thaci's high-ranking political function, it is unlikely that he or Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj and the president of the Kosovo Assembly Kadri Veseli will be brought to justice.

"The consequences (of the beginning of the work of the Special Court) are not clear because it is not known who the court will accuse, nor when this will happen. It is not known even elections will be held, nor how this situation will develop with Serbia," Kosovo analyst Agon Maliqi is quoted as saying. According to him, "it is too early to speculate about it, and everything is uncertain."

Maliqi added that it was possible that indictments would have a bad effect on parties originating from the KLA, or instead mobilize their voters to support them.

Lawyer Nebojsa Vlajic, who will represent the victims of the KLA before that court, also does not expect the trials to start soon. "The Albanians linked the negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade with the work of the KLA crimes court. To them, trials of KLA members are very important, and they are therefore trying to close the negotiations with Belgrade in Brussels with some kind of guarantee that they will be either amnestied or be given lenient sentences for the crimes committed in Kosovo," claims Vlajic.

He also recalled that "the new prosecutor, Smith, also announced that it would take a year for him to get familiar with all the cases."

Political analyst Dusan Janjic pointed out that the Brussels process and the work of the court should be independent from each other, but that they are still in correlation. "I expect that the court will soon start with minor cases for crimes committed among Albanians themselves that will not draw great media attention, and that two major processes will start only at the end of 2019, and this is balanced again: against KLA criminals for organ trafficking, but also against the Djakovica group of senior officials of the Serbian Army," Janjic said.

He recalled that this court has its "time and space" limitations, but is not "nationally limited" - and that those who were not members of the KLA can also be brought to trial, if they are charged with crimes committed in Kosovo from 1999 to 2000.

"I think the trials will be objective and impartial, because it is in the interests of both the Americans and the Russians, especially after both went to war with the Hague Tribunal and will neither find themselves before that court," Janjic emphasized.

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