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Kosovo president accuses int'l community of not keeping word

October 09, 2017 - 8:09 AM

PRISTINA, Kosovo - Kosovo's president on Monday accused the international community of not keeping its end of the bargain after the country created an unpopular war crimes court to prosecute ethnic Albanians in cases linked to Kosovo's war.

Hashim Thaci said among the things that international officials promised in return were to fast-track Kosovo for European Union and UNESCO membership and visa liberalization, and allow Kosovo to form a military.

Kosovo created the court but the international community didn't do any of the things it promised, he said.

Kosovo's special court was inaugurated at The Hague last year, but it hasn't processed any cases.

Nineteen international judges from European Union member countries, the U.S. and Canada are based in The Hague, with jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, war crimes and other crimes under Kosovo law that allegedly occurred between Jan. 1, 1998, and Dec. 31, 2000.

About 10,000 people died and 1,700 went missing during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war, which ended after NATO intervened on behalf of the Albanian majority.

Thaci said he agreed to lead "an unfair historical process for Kosovo despite opposition from the public, political and civil opinion to this court, in order to protect the strategic partnership with U.S., EU and NATO."

Thaci said the court was unfair to Kosovo.

The special court has had "maximal and bilateral co-operation with Serbia" but "minimal, symbolic and unilateral" co-operation with Kosovo, he said.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, which Serbia hasn't recognized.

"Authorities in Belgrade claim they know who is to be charged and what the charges will be for Kosovo Albanians," Thaci said, adding "the Serbs fully believe they are correctly informed no Serb will be charged."

He deplored that the special court would not consider any of "400 massacres" or any of the more than 20,000 alleged cases of Albanian women in Kosovo raped by members of the Serb forces.

A court spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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