War criminals ‘liberated’ Kosovo

According to the European Union Special Investigative Task Force’s (SITF) chief prosecutor, Clint Williamson some KLA senior officials committed crimes against humanity and war crimes following the end of the Kosovo War in 1999.

In a statement made recently, SITF announced its findings on the alleged crimes committed by members of ethnic-Albanian rebel organization Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which sought Kosovo’s separation from Serb territories in the 1990s.

The SITF says it found evidence “that certain elements of the KLA intentionally targeted the minority populations with acts of persecution that included unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, other forms of inhumane treatment, forced displacements of individuals from their homes and communities, and desecration and destruction of churches and other religious sites.”

Williamson underlined that the victims of these crimes were mainly Serbs, Roma and other minorities, but also Kosovo Albanians who were labeled as either collaborators with the Serbs or political opponents of the KLA leadership.

The SITF was set up by the European Union in September 2011 to conduct a full-scale criminal investigation into the allegations contained in the report of Council of Europe Rapporteur Dick Marty, who claimed he had information about former KLA officials harvesting and trafficking human organs.

Many people were mistreated by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, the SITF found

“Over the past two and a half years, the SITF has conducted an intense, detailed investigation into the allegations in the Marty Report,” wrote Williamson the statement. “This investigation has involved interviews of hundreds of witnesses in countries throughout Europe and elsewhere. It has involved the review of thousands of pages of documents compiled by numerous organizations and individuals that were engaged in Kosovo during and after the period of our investigative focus.”

He added that the investigation has been a “challenging exercise” but was nevertheless convinced that it has been “the most comprehensive investigation ever done of crimes perpetrated in the period after the war ended in Kosovo in June 1999.”

In its press release, the SITF claims it can file an indictment against KLA individuals once “an appropriate judicial mechanism is established to host a fully independent, impartial and transparent trial that ensures the highest standards of security for witnesses and for criminal proceedings.”

Williamson thanked the European Union, its member states and international partners for their ongoing efforts in setting up a court for the proceedings.

Source: DW