Yet again “The Hague” becomes the synonym for “the place where alleged war criminals get tried”. This time it’s the turn of former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army, who will face charges related to killings, abductions, illegal detentions and persecution of opponents and alleged collaborators during the war to create a state in 1999-2000.
It’s all a bit déjà vu: some of the current Kosovo big men were previously put on trial at the Yugoslav tribunal. But they were acquitted – witness testimony just didn’t stand up. And inside Kosovo itself there’s been a bewildering collection of EU-related law and order acronyms trying to mete out justice.
This latest one is called the Kosovo Relocated Specialist Judicial Institution or the KRSJI. Oh yes, the international justice twitterati have already had a field day with that snappy hashtag.
The biggest concern though is whether the KRSJI – ok – let’s just call it the Kosovo court, please – will be able to deliver justice
“The big question is whether the tribunal — international or not — can manage to successfully pursue and prosecute KLA perpetrators.”
And Mark Kersten also writes about the internal politics of Pristina. The court is a huge political hot potato in Kosovo, with the opposition parties still very angry. That’s not surprising. Who wants their heroes on trial when those you fought against – such as former president Slobodan Milosevic, who’s trial at the Yugoslav Tribunal ended when he died -haven’t been ‘fully punished’?
All these alleged crimes took place way back when. What may be useful for those of us who weren’t closely following events in Kosovo at the time, Balkan Insight has produced a handy timeline of events.
And for a realistic look at the new court’s challenges, check this article from BIRN’s Maria Ristic.
Janet H. Anderson is the Project Manager at Justice Hub.
Justice Hub reflects conversations on accountability and access to justice. We feature change-makers, researchers, and justice activists who make concrete the abstract concepts of Justice and Rule of Law. Justice Hub - alongside our sister project Hague Talks is powered by the Hague Project Peace and Justice – a network of over 200 Hague-based organisations working on peace and justice issues.
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