Kosovo war crimes tribunal cleared to launch


The Kosovo Constitutional Court on Wednesday cleared the way for the launch of a tribunal established to prosecute senior ethnic Albanian rebel commanders for war crimes.

The Constitutional Court had previously requested several amendments to Kosovo laws to accommodate the war crimes tribunal.

The court president, Ekaterina Trendafilova, said in a statement that the tribunal will begin working in a week, the regional N1 TV said.

The court was set up in 2016 to try rebel Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) leaders accused of atrocities during and after the 1999 war of independence.

Many present-day politicians were involved with the KLA, including President Hashim Thaci and his coalition partner, former prime minister Ramush Haradinaj. Senior politicians are expected to face charges and trial.

The war crimes court, which operates under Kosovo laws, was set up abroad and with international judges and prosecutors, because the domestic justice system was deemed unable to overcome the influence of defendants and better protect witnesses.

Kosovo, with a 90-per cent Albanian majority, declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

The Albanian population, which largely reveres the KLA fighters, regards the tribunal as biased.

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