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Kosovo Votes For New War Crimes Court

Parliament in Kosovo has passed legislation to create a special court to try ethnic Albanian ex-guerrillas for alleged crimes.

The constitutional changes were endorsed on August 3 by 82 deputies in the 120-seat parliament.

The result comes little over a month after a first vote failed to win approval.

The United States and European Union lobbied hard for Kosovo to set up such a court to try ethnic Albanian former fighters for alleged crimes, including organ harvesting during the 1998-99 insurgency to throw off Serbian rule.

"Finding the truth about some allegations from during and after the war is a challenge that we have to deal with," Prime Minister Isa Mustafa told legislators before the vote.

For several years, the now-disbanded guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) has been dogged by allegations it removed organs from ethnic Serb captives before selling them on the black market.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority and its leaders -- many of them former UCK fighters -- angrily reject the accusations as an attempt to tarnish the insurgency.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP and dpa

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