Kosovo Specialist Chambers

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor's Office (KSC & SPO) is a court of Kosovo, located in The Hague (Netherlands), hosting four Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecutors Office, which may perform their activities either at the KRSJI or in Kosovo. The court is currently set up for delegating the trials of the crimes committed by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), an ethnic-Albanian paramilitary organisation which sought the separation of Kosovo from Yugoslavia during the 1990s and the eventual creation of a Greater Albania.[2][3][4][5][6] The alleged crimes concern the period 1998–2000, during and at the end of the Kosovo war and directed afterwards against "ethnic minorities and political opponents".[7] The court was formally established in 2016.[8] It is separate from other Kosovar institutions, and independent. It is composed of a Specialist Prosecutor's Office and four Specialist Chambers, with themselves comprising Judges' Chambers and a Registry.

Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor's Office
Former Europol HQ in Den Haag.jpg
Established2017
JurisdictionWar crimes in the Kosovo War
LocationRaamweg 47, 2596 HN, The Hague, Netherlands[1]
The Hague, Netherlands
Coordinates52°05′47″N 4°18′28″E / 52.096304°N 4.307805°E / 52.096304; 4.307805
Websitescp-ks.org

In December 2016 Ekaterina Trendafilova was elected first president.[9] Among the people charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity are Kosovo former president Hashim Thaçi and senior Kosovar politician Kadri Veseli.[10] On 15 September 2021 the court's first trial opened, the case against Salih Mustafa.[11]

BackgroundEdit

In 2010, Swiss politician Dick Marty authored a Council of Europe-report in which he noted war crimes had been committed by the KLA. Partly based on that report, the prosecutor of the Special Investigative Taskforce (SITF) of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX Kosovo) concluded sufficient evidence existed for prosecution of "war crimes, crimes against humanity as well as certain crimes against Kosovan law".[8] The court is located outside Kosovo on request of the prosecutor in order to provide adequate protection to witnesses.[8]

The Kosovo authorities have agreed with the EU on modalities of dealing with those serious allegations. On 3 August 2015, the Kosovo Assembly adopted Article 162 of the Kosovo Constitution and the Law on Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor's Office, following the Exchange of Letters between the President of Kosovo and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in 2014. The Specialist Chambers are attached to each level of the court system in Kosovo – Basic Court, Court of Appeals, Supreme Court and Constitutional Court. They will function according to relevant Kosovo laws as well as customary international law and international human rights law.

The EU has supported the process from the outset and together with other contributing countries (Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States of America) will financially support the work of the court.

The Specialist Chambers comprises two organs, the Chambers and the Registry. The Specialist Prosecutor's Office is an independent office for the investigation and prosecution of the crimes within the jurisdiction of the Specialist Chambers. The Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecutor's Office are staffed with international judges, prosecutors and officers and have a seat in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Legal basis and organisationEdit

Unlike many other non-Dutch judicial institutions in The Hague, the Kosovo Relocated Specialist Judicial Institution isn't an international court, but a court constituted through Kosovan legislation. To provide a proper legal basis for the court, Kosovo's constitution was amended (amendment 24)[12][8] and Law No.05/L-053 on specialist chambers and specialist prosecutor's office was approved.[13]

The court will be staffed by EU personnel and will have international judges only. The costs of the court will be borne by the EU[14] as part of its Common Foreign and Security Policy.[8] The four specialized chambers are all chambers of corresponding regular Kosovar institutions:

  • The court of first instance of Pristina
  • The court of Appeal
  • Supreme Court
  • Constitutional Court

JudgesEdit

The judges appointed to serve in the Court are:[15]

  1. Keith Raynor (Vice-President), United Kingdom
  2. Roland Dekkers (Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court), Netherlands
  3. Anne Power-Forde (Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court), Ireland
  4. Vidar Stensland (Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court), Norway
  5. Antonio Balsamo (Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court, Reserve Judge), Italy
  6. Kai Ambos, Germany
  7. Christoph Barthe, Germany
  8. Michael Bohlander, Germany
  9. Emilio Gatti, Italy
  10. Nicolas Guillou, France
  11. Thomas Laker, Germany
  12. Guénaël Mettraux, Switzerland
  13. Vladimir Mikula, Czech Republic
  14. Andres Parmas, Estonia
  15. Michèle Picard, France
  16. Kenneth Roberts, Canada
  17. Charles Smith III, United States of America
  18. Mappie Veldt-Foglia, Netherlands
  19. Christine van den Wyngaert, Belgium

Indicted personsEdit

A total of eight persons have been indicted in the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. Of those indicted, all have been arrested and transferred to the Chambers' custody. The cases against five persons are in the pre-trial stage, one person is on trial, and two cases are in the appeals stage.

Name Indicted H W D Transferred
to the KSC
Current status Ind.
Salih Mustafa 12 June 2020 4 24 September 2020 Trial began on 15 September 2021[16] [17]
Pjetёr Shala 12 June 2020 4 15 April 2021 Case in pre-trial stage[18] [19]
Jakup Krasniqi 26 October 2020 6 4 4 November 2020 Case in pre-trial stage[20] [21]
Rexhep Selimi 26 October 2020 6 4 5 November 2020 Case in pre-trial stage[20] [21]
Hashim Thaçi 26 October 2020 6 4 5 November 2020 Case in pre-trial stage[20] [21]
Kadri Veseli 26 October 2020 6 4 5 November 2020 Case in pre-trial stage[20] [21]
Hysni Gucati 11 December 2020 6 25 September 2020 Appealing sentence of 4.5 years' imprisonment and €100 fine[22][23] [24]
Nasim Haradinaj 11 December 2020 6 25 September 2020 Appealing sentence of 4.5 years' imprisonment and €100 fine[22][23] [24]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Special Kosovo court comes to The Hague, Municipality of The Hague, 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  2. ^ State-building in Kosovo. A plural policing perspective. Maklu. 5 February 2015. p. 53. ISBN 9789046607497.
  3. ^ Liberating Kosovo: Coercive Diplomacy and U. S. Intervention. Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. 2012. p. 69. ISBN 9780262305129.
  4. ^ Dictionary of Genocide. Greenwood Publishing Group. 2008. p. 249. ISBN 9780313346415.
  5. ^ "Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)". Encyclopædia Britannica. 14 September 2014.
  6. ^ Karon, Tony (6 March 2001). "Albanian Insurgents Keep NATO Forces Busy". Time.
  7. ^ "Kosovo court to be established in The Hague". Government of the Netherlands. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Betreft Nederland gastland voor de Kosovo rechtbank" (PDF). Government of the Netherlands. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Kosovo Special Court Appoints First President". 14 December 2016.
  10. ^ Marusic, Sinisa Jakov (2 September 2020). "North Macedonia Albanian Leader Testifies to Kosovo War Prosecutors". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  11. ^ Bami, Xhorxhina (15 September 2021). "First Trial of Kosovo Ex-Guerrilla Opens at Hague War Crimes Court". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Amendment of the constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, I. Amendment no. 24" (PDF). Kosovo Assembly. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Law No.05/L-053" (PDF). Kosovo Assembly. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Special Kosovo war crimes court to be set up in The Hague". Reuters. 15 January 2016.
  15. ^ Balkan Insight
  16. ^ "Case Information Sheet: Specialist Prosecutor v. Salih Mustafa (Case No. KSC-BC-2020-05)" (PDF). KSC. 2021-09-19. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  17. ^ "KSC-BC-2020-05: Specialist Prosecutor v. Salih Mustafa Public Redacted Version of 'Indictment', dated 19 June 2020" (PDF). KSC. 2020-10-02. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  18. ^ "Case Information Sheet: Specialist Prosecutor v. Pjetër Shala (Case No. KSC-BC-2020-04)" (PDF). KSC. 2021-04-23. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  19. ^ "KSC-BC-2020-04: Specialist Prosecutor v. Pjetёr Shala Further redacted Indictment" (PDF). KSC. 2021-03-31. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  20. ^ a b c d "Case Information Sheet: Specialist Prosecutor v. Hashim Thaçi, Kadri Veseli, Rexhep Selimi and Jakup Krasniqi (Case No. KSC-BC-2020-06)" (PDF). KSC. 2021-10-15. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  21. ^ a b c d "KSC-BC-2020-06: Specialist Prosecutor v. Hashim Thaçi, Kadri Veseli, Rexhep Selimi and Jakup Krasniqi Public Redacted Version of Amended Indictment" (PDF). KSC. 2022-09-30. Retrieved 2022-10-01.
  22. ^ a b "Case Information Sheet: Specialist Prosecutor v. Hysni Gucati & Nasim Haradinaj (Case No. KSC-BC-2020-07)" (PDF). KSC. 2021-10-07. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  23. ^ a b "Trial Panel pronounces Judgement in Hysni Gucati and Nasim Haradinaj case". KSC. 2022-05-18. Retrieved 2022-05-19.
  24. ^ a b "KSC-BC-2020-07: Specialist Prosecutor v. Hysni Gucati and Nasim Haradinaj Lesser Redacted Indictment" (PDF). KSC. 2021-10-04. Retrieved 2021-10-05.