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Kosovar War Crimes Tribunal Set To Start Proceedings

Justice Ekaterina Trendafilova

Kosovo’s Constitutional Court on June 28 cleared the way for a war crimes tribunal to prosecute former senior ethnic Albanian commanders from the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

Known officially as the Kosovo Relocated Specialist Judicial Institution, the court was established with European Union funds at The Hague, Netherlands, to prosecute crimes committed during and immediately after the 1998-99 Kosovo war.

It operates under Kosovar laws.

The court was set up with international judges and prosecutors after Kosovo’s domestic justice system was deemed to be unable to protect witnesses and overcome the influence of politically powerful defendants.

The court’s president, Justice Ekaterina Trendafilova, said in a statement on June 28 that the rules of the court comply with international human rights standards and with Kosovo's constitution.

Trendafilova said on June 28 that within seven days, “there will be no legal impediment to receive any filing or indictment from the Specialist Prosecutor's Office."

The court's prosecutors are investigating allegations made in a Council of Europe report that senior KLA commanders ran detention centers after the Kosovo war where Serbs and other civilian captives were killed and their organs sold on the black market.

Kosovo lawmakers approved the court's creation in 2015.

Based on reporting the AP, AFP, and dap