Kosovo


    Kosovo's 'Rambo', Serbia's arch-antagonist, set to be PM
    07.09.17
    AFP

    A hero at home but considered a war criminal by Belgrade, Ramush Haradinaj is set to become Kosovo's prime minister just a few months after fighting against extradition to Serbia. If parliament approves his appointment as expected, this controversial former insurgent -- nicknamed "Rambo" by his comrades -- will have the job of relaunching crucial negotiations with his Serbian adversaries. The talks to "normalise" relations between Belgrade and Pristina, brokered by the European Union, have come to a standstill in recent months. Haradinaj has opposed the dialogue, calling for Belgrade...

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    Geneva conference on Kosovo: a judicial and a humanitarian approach to find the 1658 missing persons
    03.07.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor

    In contexts of political violence, one of the worst forms of psychological torture is not to know what happened to loved ones. And it gets worse with time. Has that person been taken by the army or an armed group? Have they been assassinated? Will they ever be found alive, or at least their remains, if victim of an extrajudicial killing? “For the past 18 years, every day that goes by is agony for us,” wrote the families of Serb and Kosovar disappeared people in a joint appeal on June 21. Under pressure from them, a UN roundtable was held in Geneva last Thursday and Friday with all the...

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    Families of 1,658 Kosovo disappeared still searching for their loved ones
    28.06.17
    Frédéric Burnand, correspondent in Geneva

    A two-day conference this week in Geneva aims to relaunch the process of identifying 1,658 people who disappeared during the war in Kosovo (1998-1999). On the eve of the conference, families of Serb and Kosovar victims together urged local and international authorities to rise above obstacles and lack of political will. “We the mothers, fathers, spouses, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons and other relatives of the disappeared (…) will not rest until the fate of the last missing person has been clarified,” says the joint appeal signed on June 21 by Serb and Albanian families of people who...

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    Kosovo proposes Truth Commission, as leaders suspected of war crimes
    14.06.17
    JusticeInfo.net

    Following elections in Kosovo on Sunday June 11, Ramush Haradinaj is the favourite to be next Prime Minister. Although acquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, he is still accused of war crimes by Belgrade. Last January he was arrested at Bâle-Mulhouse airport on a request from Serbia and imprisoned in France. French judicial authorities subsequently released him, without extraditing him to Belgrade. These elections no doubt signal a period of political instability in Kosovo. A coalition of parties that grew from the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) won the...

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    Kosovo elections with war crimes court and international justice in mind
    11.06.17
    AFP

    Kosovo voted Sunday for a new parliament that will have to navigate tense relations with Serbia, endemic corruption and possible war crimes indictments for some of its leaders. The early general election is only the third since Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008, but it "might be the hardest to predict," according to Florian Bieber, professor of Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz in Austria. A month after the last government lost a confidence vote, the battle for a new prime minister pitches an ex-guerrilla commander against a former student protest...

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    New Kosovo Court Pledges to Finally Prosecute Ex-Guerrillas
    10.05.17
    Marija Ristić

    The new special court will try to make up for the failures of several international efforts to bring former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters to justice for 1990s crimes, but witness protection, legitimacy and outreach remain key challenges ahead. After five years of negotiations, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office will finally launch its first judicial activity this year. Although based in The Hague, the Specialist Chambers (SC) is legally part of Kosovo’s judicial system, but independent from the Kosovo judiciary and staffed by internationals, while all...

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    “Who will testify to Kosovo tribunal?” asks the man who exposed organ trafficking
    28.04.17
    JusticeInfo.net

    Former Swiss prosecutor Dick Marty this week spoke publicly for the first time in years about his explosive December 2010 report on illegal human organ trafficking in Kosovo. He was speaking to a “Carrefour de Sarajevo” forum at Neuchâtel University, attended by a numerous public.  In his report Marty (who is also on the board of  Fondation Hirondelle, owner of JusticeInfo.net) pointed the finger at current President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, accused of being “one of the most dangerous sponsors of the Albanian criminal underworld”. The report says that the Kosovo president and his close...

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    French court refuses to extradite ex-Kosovo PM Haradinaj to Serbia
    27.04.17
    AFP

    A French court on Thursday rejected a request by Serbia to extradite former Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj, who Belgrade accuses of committing war crimes during the 1998-1999 war in the Serbian Kosovo. Haradinaj, 48, was arrested by French police on January 4 when he flew into the Franco-Swiss airport of Basel-Mulhouse, but he is free to return home following Thursday's decision by the court in Colmar, eastern France. He told AFP in an interview this month that he is the victim of "political persecution". Haradinaj, a lawmaker and opponent of Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, is...

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    Mission impossible for Kosovo war crimes court?
    26.04.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    In a few days, the 19 judges of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC), a European Union initiative ratified by Kosovo’s parliament in 2016, will have their own Rules of Procedure and Evidence. In theory, everything will then be ready for the first indictments against the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 2000. The Specialist Chambers are an integral part of Kosovo’s judicial system, but they have an international presence and they sit in The Hague, Netherlands. The President is Bulgarian, the Prosecutor...

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    War Justice Strategy for Kosovo Undermined by Divisions
    13.04.17
    Marija Ristic

    A Kosovo government-backed working group set up to draft a national strategy for dealing with the wartime past has been troubled by divisions, disputes and failures to deliver, a new report says. Kosovo’s Inter-Ministerial Working Group on Dealing with the Past and Reconciliation (IMWG) has been working since 2012 on developing a National Strategy on Transitional Justice - but with no public draft yet published, questions are being asked about why it has failed to live up to expectations.A group of NGOs is launching a report on Tuesday in Pristina examining the role of the IMWG, which...

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    French arrest of former Kosovo PM is a “test for Europe”
    30.01.17
    Franck Petit, JusticeInfo.net

    The name of Ramush Haradinaj is again on the lips of European diplomats. This former nightclub bouncer was head of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the war with Serbia in 1998. Emerging victorious from the war, he was seen as a hero of the resistance and an ally of the international community that wanted a stable Kosovo. He was also tried and twice acquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). But on January 4, 2017, he was arrested at Bâle-Mulhouse airport in France, on the basis of an arrest warrant from Serbia, which wants him extradited. Europe...

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    Next Kosovo president says 'nothing to hide' from war crimes court
    08.03.16
    AFP

    Kosovo's president-elect has pledged to "fully support" a new war crimes court prosecuting members of the guerrilla group he once led -- despite a question mark hanging over whether he himself will be indicted. Hashim Thaci, elected by parliament in February as the next head of state, made his name as political leader of the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which fought against Serbia for independence in the late 1990s. But as he prepares to step into the top job next month, speculation is mounting over whether he could be summoned to a court due to open in The Hague this year, trying crimes allegedly committed by senior KLA members. The court's creation stems from a...

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    Special Court Stokes Hot Debate in Kosovo
    02.03.16
    Zoran Culafic, Balkans correspondent

    Kosovo’s outgoing President Atifete Jahjaga has ratified an agreement between Kosovo and the Netherlands on a Special Court to try senior Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) fighters for war crimes. But media reports say the process of ratification was not constitutional. Analysts also say that a possible summons for Kosovo’s new President-elect could destabilize the country.  The European Union-backed Special Court is to try senior KLA fighters for crimes against ethnic minorities and political opponents committed during and in the immediate aftermath of the Kosovo War (1999 to 2000).  “With the...

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    Week in Review: The Wheels of Transitional Justice Grind Slowly
    18.01.16
    François Sergent, Justiceinfo.net

    This has been an eventful week showing the important role transitional justice can play in places like Cambodia, Kosovo, Kenya and Burundi, but that a hesitant international community often sets it in motion late.  On Friday, the Dutch government announced that the European Union is to set up a special court in The Hague to try suspected war crimes committed by UCK separatist rebels during the Kosovo war of 1998-1999. This confirms a previous report published by JusticeInfo.net. The tribunal will be governed by the law of Kosovo but composed of international judges and based outside the...

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    New court to open in The Hague to try Kosovo war crimes
    15.01.16
    JusticeInfo.net with AFP

    A new EU-backed court to try war crimes allegedly committed by ethnic Albanian guerrillas during the Kosovo war will open this year in The Hague, the Dutch government said Friday."The court will try serious crimes allegedly committed in 1999-2000 by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) against ethnic minorities and political opponents," the Dutch foreign ministry said in a statement. This confirms a previous report by JusticeInfo.net. The new tribunal will have international judges but will be part of the Kosovo judicial system, and will be housed in a former building belonging to...

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    European Court in View on Kosovo Organ Trafficking
    13.10.15
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo.Net Head of Project

    War crimes, international organ trafficking, mafia networks and corruption involving top officials of a Balkan State, Kosovo: it sounds like the scenario for a John Le Carré novel. Tragically, though, it seems to be true. Eight years after the first accusations and two investigations that backed them up, justice might soon start to be served. To protect potential witnesses, the European Union is preparing to set up its first tribunal. JusticeInfo.Net has learned that all the “sensitive proceedings” will be handled outside Kosovo by international staff, to protect witnesses and stop the...

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