American named as new Kosovo court prosecutor

0 min 54Approximate reading time

The Kosovo war crimes tribunal in The Hague appointed American Kimberly West as its new prosecutor Friday, after her predecessor left to lead a US probe against ex-president Donald Trump.

West, a former US federal prosecutor, will take over cases at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in the Dutch city including the high-profile trial of Kosovan former president Hashim Thaci.

"It is an honour to have been selected for this important and challenging role," West said in a statement "I am looking forward to joining the SPO (Specialist Prosecutor's Office) and to taking its work forward."

She succeeds Jack Smith, who left in November 2022 to become the US special counsel overseeing criminal probes into Trump relating to the 2021 Capitol riot, alleged election interference in Georgia, and classified documents.

West served as a prosecutor at the UN tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague from 2008-13, and was a member of the team that prosecuted former Bosnian Serb Radovan Karadzic for genocide, the Kosovo court said.

West held a senior role in the Massachusetts Attorney General's office until 2019 and is currently a partner at a Boston law firm focusing on defending white-collar crime suspects.

The EU-funded Kosovo court was set up in 2015 to investigate alleged war crimes by ethnic Albanian rebels during the 1998-99 independence war against Serbia.

Tensions remain high in Kosovo with ethnic Serbs holding fresh rallies on Thursday at the site of clashes earlier this week with NATO-led forces.